By Sean Golonka & Jacob Solis, The Nevada Independent, October 26, 2023
Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas), a longtime lawmaker who is termed out and unable to run again for state Senate, has resigned from his position effective Thursday before the end of his term in 2024.
Sources say Hammond resigned because he has accepted a state job that will be announced soon. In a brief interview, Hammond declined to discuss the specifics of his next position.
His decision means the Senate District 18 seat, covering a northwest portion of the Las Vegas Valley, will likely be left vacant until a new senator is elected next year. A replacement would only need to be appointed in the event of a special session, given the Legislature’s part-time nature.
First elected to the Senate in 2012, Hammond was also elected to one term in the Assembly in 2010. In that time, Hammond twice served on the Republican Senate leadership team, including a stint as the co-majority whip in 2015 and the co-minority whip in 2019. He also ran for Congress in 2018.
“I never had a bad experience with anybody in the building. So 13 years later, it’s hard to leave that because you’re leaving good friends, you’re leaving family almost,” he said in an interview. “My family, we’ve come to love Carson City. It’s our second home.”
Throughout his time in Carson City, Hammond was among the most vocal proponents for school choice. That includes architecting the creation of the Education Savings Accounts program in 2015, an expansive school choice program that has since withered after its funding mechanism was blocked in court. He has also backed another school choice program, Opportunity Scholarships, that also passed during unified Republican control of state government in 2015.
In the 2023 session, Hammond was a critical swing vote in a long-running battle between legislative Democrats and Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo over the budget. In the waning hours of the regular legislative session, he joined fellow Senate Republicans to block the state’s final budget bill — which required a two-thirds majority to pass — in a move that necessitated a special legislative session the next day.
During that special session, Hammond then flipped — voting with Democrats to advance the budget bill against continued Senate Republican opposition. At the time, Hammond said of his vote: “This had to be done. We needed to end this.”
Hammond also declined to say whether he supported any of the candidates running to replace him, including Assemblyman Richard McArthur (R-Las Vegas), Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck and businessman Josh Leavitt. Lombardo has endorsed Steinbeck. Registered Republicans make up 32 percent of voters in the district, compared with registered Democrats who make up 30 percent.
Update: Oct. 26, 2023 at 6:47 p.m. — This article was updated to reflect that Hammond is expected to take a new position with the state.