LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas attorney Sigal Chattah, who has filed lawsuits against Gov. Steve Sisolak over coronavirus-related restrictions he imposed on churches and his proposed vaccination plan, announced Thursday that she’s running against Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford in 2022.
Chattah, a Republican, represented Nevada churches that challenged Sisolak’s COVID-19 restrictions, arguing they violated First Amendment rights by treating churches differently than casinos or other secular businesses.
Sisolak put a hard cap of 50 attendees at indoor religious gatherings instead of imposing a capacity limit based on fire-code capacities, as businesses were subjected to.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the churches. Ford, who serves as the lawyer for Nevada’s governor and the executive branch, defended the order.
“Nevadans deserve an attorney general that will fight for them and not take care of their special interest friends," Chattah said in a statement. “Attorney General Aaron Ford has been nothing more than Sisolak’s lapdog, turning his back on all Nevadans, doing nothing as our state and our precious businesses succumb to complete devastation.”
She said as attorney general she would “always protect Nevadan’s constitutional rights above all else.”
Ford responded with a statement noting that Nevada on Thursday had just marked its 5,000th death from COVID-19.
“Rather than playing politics, I am focused on grieving with those Nevada families who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease and doing everything I can to prevent more Nevadans from burying their loved ones,” Ford said.
He said that in the past year as attorney general he directed money the state received in a pre-pandemic settlement to be used to keep Nevadans in their homes as they struggled against the coronavirus, and that he defended the state’s efforts to prevent the spread of the viruss.
Ford was elected attorney general in 2018 after serving as majority leader of the Nevada Senate.
Chattah filed a lawsuit in January on behalf of several Nevadans in their early 70s that challenged Sisolak's playbook for COVID-19 vaccines by prioritizing those 75 and older. She contended that people 65 and older should be prioritized.
Sisolak then lowered the eligibility age to 70 before both parties agreed to dismiss the case last month around the time Nevada opened up vaccinations for people 65 and older.
According to her biography on her law firm's website, Chattah was born in Israel in 1975 and moved to Nevada with her family when she was 14.
She graduated from Valley High School in Las Vegas in 1993 and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1997 with a degree in political science and an emphasis on the Middle East. She attended Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and started her own law firm in Nevada in 2002.
She has also served as a planning commissioner in the city of Las Vegas, an appointed position, and on the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of Nevada.