(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Long time state Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, said today he has decided against running for the open Senate 2 seat in Washoe County.
Anderson, who has served in the Assembly since 1991, said he was seriously considering a run for the seat that is being vacated by Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, because of term limits. Anderson himself is being termed out of his Assembly 31 seat after his term ends next year.
But Anderson said after giving it some careful thought, he decided he would be unable to commit the amount of time needed to do the job well.
“It takes a huge amount of reading to stay on top of everything,” he said. “I actually read the bills I vote on. I just don’t feel I would be able to meet what I consider to be the responsibilities of the job.”
As a result, Anderson will be leaving political elective office next year.
The decision leaves at least one Democratic candidate still seeking the office. Gary Schmidt, a 35-year Nevada resident who served a term on the Washoe County Board of Equalization, is an announced candidate for the Senate 2 seat. Schmidt ran unsuccessfully for the Washoe County Commission District 4 seat in 2008.
On the Republican side, Assemblyman Don Gustavson of Sparks, who serves in District 32, has announced his candidacy for the Senate seat.
Anderson said he has been told that Washoe County District 4 Commissioner Robert Larkin is also interested in running for the seat as a GOP candidate, but Larkin could not be reached for comment on his plans.
Anderson is one of a number of lawmakers who is being forced from office due to voter-approved term limits. The 2010 elections are the first year the limits are taking effect and 17 of 63 lawmakers are termed out of office. Some have announced plans to seek other legislative seats.
Anderson, a retired teacher, said he never regretted his decision to serve in the Assembly for 10 sessions. He served as chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee for much of that time.
He may yet reprise his role as a legislator if, as he anticipates, Gov. Jim Gibbons calls a special session of the Legislature in late January or early February to deal with the budget shortfall and other pressing issues.