Appointed state attorney general won’t run for office
March 13, 2006
CARSON CITY (AP) – Republican George Chanos, Nevada’s recently appointed attorney general, said Monday he has decided not to run this year for a four-year term.
The decision by Chanos, who took over in November from former Attorney General Brian Sandoval, was a surprising political development. When GOP Gov. Kenny Guinn named Chanos last year, the governor described him as an “excellent” election-year candidate – and Chanos said he’d definitely run for a full term.
But Chanos said that since his appointment he has realized he has no stomach for partisan politics, doesn’t like the “fishbowl” existence of a statewide elective official and wants to spend more time with his family than his state post would allow.
“I just don’t believe that politics is the right field for me to be in,” Chanos said, adding that he’s confident he could win this year but wouldn’t want to get elected and then “back out after I do win.”
Chanos said he advised Guinn on Friday of his plans, and the governor asked him to think about it over the weekend. Chanos said he told Guinn he would “pursue the rest of my term with absolute dedication” but will definitely leave office at the end of this year.
The attorney general also said he would return more than $1.1 million in contributions that he has received for his campaign – four times the amount listed by Democratic challenger Catherine Cortez Masto in her latest contribution report.
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Guinn said he’s disappointed that Chanos won’t run, but added, “I can attest to the enormous drain political life takes on your family life. Therefore, I understand his decision.”
Chanos said he values time with his family and if he won a four-year term, “it’s clear to me that I wouldn’t be able to maintain that kind of involvement.” He added that he especially wants to spend time with his 8-year-old daughter and 78-year-old father and “as much as this position means to me it doesn’t mean as much to me as they do.”
Regarding his privacy, Chanos said, “I knew going into this position that I would sacrifice some degree of privacy, but I never really expected the level of coverage that I would receive.”
“I never expected it would affect me the way it did. I thought I would enjoy public exposure, and it turns out I really don’t enjoy it. I don’t like it at all,” he said.
“I don’t want to be on the front page of the paper,” he added. “I don’t want to walk out my front door to get the morning paper and wonder if I’m in it.”
Chanos also said there’s too much partisanship in politics, at both the national and state levels, for him – although he has a lot of respect for others, both Democrats and Republicans, who “have the personality and disposition that allows them to succeed in that environment.”
“But I simply don’t have that personality and disposition,” he said. “I tend to want more immediate results and tend to not back down from a fight, and I think that politics requires more patience and more willingness to compromise.”
Chanos singled out state Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, as the type of politician he couldn’t work with, even calling her “bad for Nevada.” Buckley and Chanos harshly criticized one another in a recent controversy over importing low-priced Canadian drugs, with Buckley pushing the idea and Chanos saying federal law prohibited the imports.