Democrats keep control of Clark County Commission

Published Tue, Nov 2, 2010 (9:16 p.m.)

Updated Tue, Nov 2, 2010 (10:30 p.m.)

At the Polls: Voter Choices

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The Sun exit polled voters at three polling stations throughout the valley to find out who voters were choosing for the hotly contested Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle, the Governor race between Rory Reid and Brian Sandoval, the 3rd District Congressional race between Dina Titus and Joe Heck and the 1st District Congressional race between Shelley Berkley and Kenneth Wegner.

It’s going to be another all-Democrat Clark County Commission.

With a quarter of the precincts reporting, the race for Clark County Commission District G, which is being vacated by Democrat Rory Reid, shows Democrat Mary Beth Scow with a growing lead. Her 21,369 votes is more than 6,000 beyond her closest challenger, Republican Douglas Bell, a former county employee.

In that same race, Libertarian candidate Tim Hagan has collected just more than 1,000 votes.

Both Bell and Hagan had an uphill fight, since almost half of District G’s voters are registered Democrats.

Scow is a former school board member, where she said her dealings with labor unions gave her ample preparation to work with the unions the county is now asking to make concessions to preserve jobs and balance the budget.

Bell worked 30 years with the county, lastly as a housing official in charge of the county’s Community Resources Management Division. Hagan is an electrical engineer who said he would push to cut bureaucratic red tape that hurts businesses in Clark County.

In the race for the District F seat, incumbent Democrat Susan Brager’s lead kept growing, showing her with 25,536 votes to 16,725 for Republican Mitchell Tracy, her nearest challenger. Independent American Party candidate Jeff “Sarge” Durbin, had collected about 2,600 votes.

Brager, 63, fought attempts by her opponents to capitalize on the ire of voters socked hard by the economy and by a developer’s broken promise of parks near their Mountain’s Edge homes. Like Scow, Brager had previously served on the Clark County School Board.

Meanwhile, Chris Giunchigliani, 55, dominated Republican challenger Ben Boarman, 24, who ran a nearly silent campaign. With 17,946 votes, she owned a nearly 10,000-vote lead. Giunchigliani’s District E engulfs a large piece of older downtown neighborhoods and a smaller section of the Strip. Boarman’s previous political experience was in California, where he served in Sonoma County on the Republican Central Committee.

Many say the Clark County Commission is the most powerful political body in the state, because it governs not only the Las Vegas Strip but also McCarran International Airport and University Medical Center, the state’s largest public hospital.

In the last two years, the county commission has struggled like every other governmental entity in Nevada to cut salaries or employees to balance budgets suffering from dwindling tax dollars. They also have to contend with the day-to-day vagaries of running the county. Where to put light poles and street lights and which tavern deserves to have its license taken away and which does not.

Some commissioners have also squared off with unions, a scene no one thought possible four years ago after the elections turned the entire board over to Democrats, a political party that is typically a union stronghold.

It made sense, then, that County Commission candidates talked about cutting and slashing and watching the budget, and going after union perks and benefits in attempts to appeal to voters who have already lost, or fear losing, their own jobs.

SHERIFF

Though many in Clark County expressed anger over recent shootings by Metro officers, as well as the coroner’s inquest system that examines each of those deaths, none of those issues seemed to hurt incumbent Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s bid for a second term.

Gillespie had 200,132 votes to 105,537 for Officer Laurie Bisch with more than a quarter of the precincts reporting.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Clark County District Attorney David Roger, a Republican, was pulling away from challenger Don Chairez, a Democrat, with 174,706 votes to 158,306.

Roger’s vote total so far represents 52.5 percent of the total votes. In 2006, he beat Democrat Patrick Ferguson with 55 percent of the vote.

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