RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Now that there are at least two strong candidates running for Washoe County Sheriff, the race is taking on a whole new dynamic. Even though the Sheriff is a very powerful person in Washoe County, overseeing a large budget, a large staff with tremendous visibility, this race is typically predictable and not hotly-contested.
Truckee Meadows Community College Professor Fred Lokken says in all of Nevada's counties, when it is time to elect a new sheriff, there is a normal path. "You have a sitting Sheriff, who generally was the Undersheriff. Then the time has come, to have the Sheriff step down and then the next one is sort of anointed to come into that role."
That appeared to be the path for current Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek. He has been in the Sheriff's Office for more than two decades, working in almost every job and serving in every bureau. He announcing his candidacy a few weeks ago, and received the backing of significant political and business figures, as well as several major endorsements.
But Monday's announcement from Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen provides a twist. "The name recognition for Chuck Allen exceeds that of the current Undersheriff, and you don't see that very often."
This new development may mean no one is going to have a cakewalk in becoming the next Washoe County Sheriff. "It does create a fascinating race with two candidates able to attract significant funding."
Because of this new dynamic, the Dean of TMCC's Political Science program makes this prediction. "I think actually it will become a race of issues and we haven't seen that for a very long time in Washoe County."
As for name recognition, Kuzanek has time to build that, but Allen's venture into the race will force Kuzanek to raise and spend more campaign money. We can expect to hear more about the budget, staffing, volunteers, community involvement and of course, crime fighting initiatives as the key issues to this race.