Municipal primary elections rarely — OK, never — bring out in people the passion of presidential or statewide elections.
However, city council members and mayors make many decisions that affect the lives and businesses of people throughout the valley.
Just ask residents who are opposed to the development of a nearby golf course. Or anyone concerned about a marijuana production facility popping up around the corner from them.
Elections matter, and the nonpartisan, municipal primaries for the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson are right around the corner. (Residents living in unincorporated Clark County do not participate in municipal elections. Not sure if you live in unincorporated Clark County? There’s a handy interactive map here.)
Early voting begins Saturday and ends March 31. Primary Election Day is April 4. If candidates receive at least 50 percent of votes, they are declared the outright winner.
Races where no candidates receive 50 percent of the vote will move to a general election on June 13.
Beginning with this April 4 election, so-called “vote centers” are replacing traditional polling places in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Similar to the setup for early voting, vote centers allow registered voters to cast their ballots at any center within their respective cities, regardless of their home address.
Here is a breakdown of the seats up for grabs this election:
Councilman Steve Ross has represented Ward 6 in Las Vegas for the past dozen years. Due to term limits, he cannot run again, but a hearty group of 10 candidates are in the running to succeed him.
Leading the pack are Kelli Ross and Michele Fiore.
Ross (candidate website) is married to the outgoing councilman. She works for Allegiant Airlines and has been endorsed by IBEW Local 357, Seniors United and her husband. Ross has not held office before but did run for state Senate District 18 in 2012. She lost that race to Republican Scott Hammond.
Fiore (candidate website) is a former Nevada assemblywoman. She represented District 4 from 2013 to 2016, then unsuccessfully ran for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. She is known as a gun rights advocate, as well as assisting with negotiations during the Bundy standoff last year in Oregon. Fiore has been endorsed by Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285.
Trailing Ross and Fiore is Clark County School Board member Chris Garvey (candidate website).
Ryan Alarid, Adam Christian, Matthew Consoli, Joel Jarvis, Allen Jordan (candidate website), Reid Rasner (candidate website) and Thaddeus A. Ynigues (candidate website) round out the pack of candidates.
Other Las Vegas Races
• Ward 2 Councilman Bob Beers (candidate website) is being challenged by three competitors — Laura Feher, Christina Roush (candidate website) and Steve Seroka (candidate website). The incumbent’s biggest threat is Roush, a real estate agent who is running for public office for the first time. She has notably received support from residents of the Queensridge neighborhood who are angry over Beers’ support of a nearby development project on the former Badlands Golf Course. Beers has stood by his in-favor vote, saying that if the council had not allowed the developer to build as allowed by current zoning, the developer could sue the city. Roush disagrees. Seroka, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, also identified Queensridge as a reason for entering the race, but he trails behind in donations and support.
• Municipal Court Judge (Department 3) Heidi Almase is rerunning for her position against challengers Cara Campbell and Robert Kurth (candidate website).
• Municipal Court Judge (Department 5) Cedric Kerns is rerunning for his position against challengers Crystal Eller.
• Susan Roger is running unopposed for Municipal Court Judge (Department 2). Because nobody else filed as a candidate, Roger will be automatically declared the winner and an election will not be held.
Henderson Councilwoman Debra March (candidate website) looks to make the leap to the city’s mayor, replacing term-limited Mayor Andy Hafen.
March’s notable challenger is Rick Workman (candidate website). He is a retired Air Force officer who now works for the city. In January, Workman filed a challenge with the Nevada secretary of state arguing that March was term limited and ineligible to run. The challenge was dismissed.
Workman ran against Hafen for mayor back in 2013. During that race, Workman also used term limits to challenge Hafen’s eligibility as a candidate. That challenge was also dismissed.
Small-business owner Crystal Hendrickson (candidate website) is also running for the mayoral election. Hendrickson ran unsuccessfully against March for her council seat in 2015.
Rounding out the field are medical marijuana consultant Anthony S. Csuzi (candidate website), 19-year-old Angelo R. Gomez (candidate website), Donald Trump-supporter Eddie “Swamper” Hamilton (candidate website) and Jerry Sakura.
Other Henderson Races
• Henderson City Council’s Ward 3 seat is also up for election this cycle. The seat is currently filled by John Marz, who was appointed 3-1 by the council in 2012 after it was vacated by Kathleen Vermillion. At the time of his appointment, Marz told the city council, “I make a commitment to you that I will not run for re-election. I will give those people who serve me an opportunity to run for this seat.” Marz (candidate website) is now running for the position. Running against him are Carrie Cox (candidate website) and Matthew DeFalco (candidate website).
• Rodney T. Burr is running unopposed for Municipal Court Judge, Department 3. Because nobody filed to run against him, he has automatically been declared elected and no election will be held.
North Las Vegas
The most exciting race in North Las Vegas centers on Ward 3. Incumbent Anita Wood faces four challengers — one a familiar name to Southern Nevada.
Wood (candidate website) has represented Ward 3 on the North Las Vegas City Council since 2009. She is a full-time councilwoman and also sits on several boards, including the North Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.
She is being challenged by former Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins. Collins served on the county commission from 2005 to August 2015, when he resigned. Collins previously announced he would challenge North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee but has instead decided to run against Wood.
Also challenging Wood are youth pastor Ender Austin III (candidate website), small-business owner Scott Black (candidate website) and retired North Las Vegas Police Lt. Wilson “Will” Crespo (candidate website).
Other North Las Vegas Races
• Mayor John J. Lee (candidate website) is running for re-election against two competitors: Gary Bouchard (candidate website) and DeQuincy “Quincy” Taylor. Lee has been mayor since April 2013 and has previously served as a state assemblyman and state senator. Bouchard describes himself as a small-business man and is a frequent public commenter at city council meetings. Taylor is a licensed minister who served in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.
• In Ward 1, incumbent Isaac Barron (candidate website) is being challenged by Hector Rivera (candidate website). In 2013, Barron became the first-ever Hispanic elected to North Las Vegas City Council. He is a teacher at Rancho High School. Rivera has a background in community engagement and grass-roots organization and mostly recently worked for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.