1 vote

In Nevada, 'None' a Fearsome Foe for the GOP

LAS VEGAS — President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney must face down a dubious and slippery opponent in Nevada this November. The mystery foe cannot be tamed with television ads and never breaks a campaign pledge. Its name is “none of these candidates.”

Nevada is the only state in the nation to offer voters the quirky ballot choice, and for more than three decades, statewide candidates here have had to contend with it. But this year, nervous Republicans have filed a federal lawsuit to try to oust “none” from the ballot.

They worry that “none” could siphon away a sufficient number of anti-Obama voters from Romney to throw the state to the president. And because the Silver State's six electoral votes are some of the most hotly contested in the nation, Republicans don’t want to leave anything to chance.

The Republican National Committee declined to comment for this story, but an official there acknowledged that the party is bankrolling the lawsuit, filed last month, to add “clarity” to the ballot.

In this state, known for its love of long odds, it’s not as outlandish as it sounds that “none” could have a big impact on the outcome. It has before. In 1998, now-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid squeaked past Republican John Ensign by barely more than 400 votes in his reelection bid; “none” tallied more than 8,000 votes that year.