Ward Connerly, a former member of the California board of regents, is looking at stepping into Nevada politics.

California Republican leader Ward Connerly may be planning to enter Nevada politics.

Connerly, who considers affirmative action to be racial discrimination, said he is considering taking his crusade to nine states, in addition to the three—Michigan, Washington and California—where he has already been active with ballot measures. He is planning to visit Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah to find out about their initiative and referendum petition laws and make contact with local activists.

“Three down and 20 to go,” Connerly told a news conference last week, referring to the 23 states that permit initiative and referenda. “We don’t need to do them all, but if we do a significant number, we will have demonstrated that race preferences are antithetical to the popular will of the American people.”

Ballot campaigns are common in Nevada, though those imported from out of state sometimes have harder going than others. In 1996 an anti-gay initiative petition sponsored by an Oregon group drew opposition from liberals and conservatives and the casino industry, and it failed to attract enough signatures to gain ballot status. But a home grown anti-gay measure did later qualify for the ballot and was approved by voters.

In 1996, Connerly was a leader of the Proposition 209 ballot measure in California that prohibited racial, ethnic, or sexual preferences by government, a measure that was enacted but also cost the Republican Party heavily in the Latino community in the ensuing decade.

Last month, Michigan voters approved a similar measure sponsored by Connerly in that state.

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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...