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Nevada State Senate Candidate Attacks Opponent For 'Defending Child Rapists'

First Posted: 05/18/10 02:56 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:30 PM ET

Nolan Halseth

The race for a Nevada State Senate seat is heating up this week after a candidate's attack ad painted her primary opponent as a defender of child rapists.

Republican Elizabeth Halseth released the radio spot on Monday. The ad alludes to a 2008 trial, in which Halseth's opponent, State Sen. Dennis Nolan, was called to testify as a character witness for a friend and campaign volunteer, Gordon Joseph Lawes who was on trial for the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl four years earlier.

"What kind of a person defends a child rapist who sexually assaults our kids?" the victim's father says in the ad. "Tell [Dennis Nolan] that defending child rapists is not OK."

According to a press release from the Halseth campaign:

The radio ad and mail pieces come from the campaign to elect Elizabeth Halseth to Nolan's seat in the State Senate. Tim Andersen, the father of the teen who was assaulted by Nolan's friend, Gordon Joseph Lawes, is working with Halseth's campaign because he wants the public to know that the Senator was a character witness for a rapist. Following the 2008 trial, it took the jury less than two hours to convict Lawes, despite Nolan's testimony.

The ad will play ten times a day through Friday, according to Halseth's campaign manager, David McGowan.

But Nolan defended his testimony in the 2008 case.

"I would not have testified if I didn't believe in his innocence," Nolan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He added that he believes that the sex was consensual, but "was compelled by subpoena to testify."

Nolan dismissed the ad, saying it was an "act of desperation by a candidate who has nothing else to offer of substance."

The the ad is below:

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Filed by Jeremy Binckes  |