- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

DENVER (AP) | Four Republicans competed Tuesday for their party’s nomination to succeed Rep. Tom Tancredo, the five-term Colorado congressman whose forceful opposition to illegal immigration vaulted him to national prominence.

Primaries were also being held in Nevada, which was deciding nominations for three House seats, and in Connecticut, where Democrats selected a nominee to challenge Republican Rep. Christopher Shays.

In Colorado, the primary race to succeed Mr. Tancredo included Secretary of State Mike Coffman and two state senators, Ted Harvey and Steve Ward. Also in the field was businessman Wil Armstrong, son of powerful former Sen. Bill Armstrong.

Mr. Tancredo built a longshot presidential campaign on opposition to illegal immigration, but abandoned the White House bid in December after consistently polling at the bottom of the Republican field.

He declined to seek another term representing Denver’s southern suburbs but hinted he would consider running for the Senate. Colorado will have an open Senate seat next year when Republican Wayne Allard retires.

In Nevada, two incumbent Republican congressmen and their Democratic challengers were expected to coast to easy victories Tuesday in a primary with so little competition that officials predicted record low turnout.

In the state’s other congressional district, encompassing urban Las Vegas, five-term Democrat Shelley Berkley was favored to easily advance to the general election.

Republican Kenneth Wegner, a disabled veteran, was seeking a rematch against Mrs. Berkley in November after winning just 31 percent of the vote in 2006.

Rep. Jon Porter faced only token opposition from within his party in his quest for a fourth term representing a sprawling suburban Las Vegas district that is expected to be among the most hotly contested battlegrounds in the nation in November.

Mr. Porter’s likely opponent was Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus, a well-known college professor and failed gubernatorial candidate. She faced no significant opposition for her party’s nod, either.

In northern Nevada, Rep. Dean Heller sought the Republican nomination for a second term with solid party support and no serious rivals.

On the Democratic side, former state party chairwoman and university regent Jill Derby was unopposed in her bid to challenge Mr. Heller in November. She lost to him two years ago, but showed surprising strength in historically Republican territory.

Elsewhere in Nevada, two judges in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, were seeking re-election amid allegations of wrongdoing pending before the state Commission on Judicial Discipline.

District Court Judge Elizabeth Halverson purportedly created a hostile work environment, fell asleep on the bench, improperly communicated with jurors and mishandled trials.

Family Court Judge Nicholas Del Vecchio is accused of sexually abusing a woman when she was a minor, sexually harassing her as an adult, and making racially and sexually disparaging comments to court employees.

Also in Nevada, a rural county prosecutor was running for the district court bench despite being issued a drunken driving summons after crashing two cars in June. Nye County District Attorney Robert Beckett wrecked the vehicles in the span of six hours in June on a desert highway in California.

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