Historians say that Nevada’s secretary of state race may well be a first in state history—the first time the sons of two prominent public figures have run for election against each other in a statewide race. Even state archives administrator Guy Louis Rocha, normally cautious about touting firsts, could not come up with a similar instance.

“For the life of me, I can’t think of anything like the Miller/Tarkanian dynamic,” Rocha said.

There have been many candidates, male and female, who benefited by a family connection but no known instance of their running against each other—nothing like the famous 1962 Massachusetts race between the brother of President Kennedy and the son of U.S. House Speaker John McCormack.

Tarkanian is the son of controversial former University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Miller is the son of former Gov. Bob Miller.

Earlier this month when he emceed a dinner in Reno at which former President Jimmy Carter spoke, Bob Miller drew laughs from the crowd when he mentioned his son Ross’s candidacy nearly every time he spoke.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...