GOP firebrand Michele Fiore appointed to Nevada judgeship

FILE - Michele Fiore participates in a debate in Henderson, Nev., April 26, 2016. Fiore on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, was appointed unanimously by commissioners in rural Nye County to a local judgeship. Republican Fiore, who served five years on the Las Vegas City Council, does not have a law degree but will now serve as a justice of the peace in Pahrump Justice Court through 2024. (AP Photo/John Locher, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Las Vegas (AP) — Following years of controversy, a former Las Vegas city councilwoman who moved to a rural Nevada county after losing a bid in November for statewide office was appointed unanimously Tuesday evening to a local judgeship.

Republican firebrand Michele Fiore, who does not have a law degree, will fill a seat on the Pahrump Justice Court in Nye County through 2024. Pahrump is located about 65 miles (100 kilometers) west of Las Vegas.

Her appointment to the bench over 17 other applicants marks the latest chapter in a decade-long political career marked by scandal – including reports of an FBI probe into her campaign finances and accusations of physical assault.

In a pitch to Nye County commissioners Tuesday night, Fiore said she would approach the judgeship with “integrity and honesty" because she has “been at the end of the political barrel.”

FBI agents subpoenaed records and searched Fiore's home last year in northwest Las Vegas in connection with her campaign spending, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Earlier this year, she was sued by Las Vegas Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who accused Fiore of breaking her finger in a physical fight at City Hall in January. The two were once good friends and close political allies.

And while serving in the state Assembly from 2012 to 2016, Fiore gained national attention for her support of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family during armed standoffs between militiamen and federal law enforcement officers in Bunkerville, Nevada, in 2014 and Malheur, Oregon, in 2016.

Fiore said Tuesday that she moved to Pahrump a week after she lost to incumbent state treasurer Zach Conine, a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 general election. Fiore had joined the race on the penultimate day of Nevada's candidacy filing period in March, after campaigning for months as a Republican gubernatorial hopeful.

After the last-minute jump, the race for control of Nevada's government finances drew significant attention across the state as Fiore's past issues with the Internal Revenue Service resurfaced. She was once on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liens.

Fiore said Tuesday night that she is ready to start a new life as “a Pahrump girl." She detailed plans of living on a 2-acre lot that she said she had purchased over the summer, as well as completing a bachelor's degree and taking the Nevada State Bar exam in the future.