Arguments over the high stakes effort to recall two Democratic state Senators — and possibly flip control of Carson City’s upper house — came to court for the first time on Wednesday, but a decision is unlikely to emerge until later this month. The four-hour hearing ended with no clear indication on how District Court Judge Jerry Wiese — who asked only a handful of questions during the hearing — would rule on the case. But it provided a preview from attorney Marc Elias (a prominent national Democratic attorney) and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, arguing the case through his private law practice, of the first of many legal arguments set to play out before any special recall election can be called.
The crux of both party’s arguments revolved around whether or not to count hundreds of requests submitted by people who initially signed the recall petition but later signed a form asking to withdraw their signature. Attorneys on both sides recognized that the court’s decision on whether or not to recognize the withdrawal requests submitted after the recall petition was turned in would essentially decide whether or not both recalls qualified for a special election.
“As a practical matter, if the court credits those 1,425 post submission revocations, then that’s going to be game, set match,” Elias said. “Because no matter who’s numbers you start with, we’re going to wind up under the threshold.”