After 12 years of Mayor Oscar Goodman's martinis, people at Las Vegas City Hall will need to adjust to some Beers.
Conservative former lawmaker Bob Beers won a nine-person race to take over the Ward 2 City Council seat vacated by former Councilman Steve Wolfson, who resigned to accept an appointment as Clark County district attorney.
Beers won 1,924 votes, nearly 37 percent of the total ballots cast. City Planning Commissioner Ric Truesdell was second with 1,148 votes, about 22 percent, followed by Public Defender Kristine Kuzemka with 740 votes, or 14 percent.
During a decade in the state Legislature, Beers, an accountant by trade, was known as an outspoken and sometimes contrarian fiscal conservative.
It's a style he plans to bring to the City Council, which from 1999 until 2011 was largely defined by Goodman's outsized personality and an often-compliant council.
While Goodman's wife, Carolyn Goodman, easily won the race to succeed her husband in 2011, the couple's support for Truesdell to replace Wolfson didn't translate to victory.
With Beers joining another sometimes contrarian former lawmaker, Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin, it could mean more divergent voices on City Council.
"I think it is a time you are going to need robust discussion of alternatives, not just among people on the council but from the community," Beers said at a party once his victory was apparent.
Although Beers is a Republican, he enjoyed support from unexpected sources, such as Coffin, who was among the more liberal lawmakers in Carson City during his legislative tenure, and Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285.
Ron Futrell, a former television journalist and one-time Clark County Republican spokesman who considered running for the Ward 2 seat but backed out to support Beers, said Beers' win over Truesdell shows voters want a voice independent of the Goodmans.
"I think that it does, and I voted for Carolyn," Futrell said. "Beers is a much more independent voice than Truesdell ever would have been."
For his part, Truesdell was in good spirits despite finishing second.
He said that he called Beers to congratulate him and that he plans to remain on the planning commission and direct much of his energy to non profits such as the Children's Discover Museum and the Meadows School.
"I'm not going away," Truesdell said.
The election followed a truncated campaign cycle that forced candidates to cram their strategies into a four-week window.
The result was a bombardment of mail, phone calls, signs and billboards that sprung up seemingly overnight in the ward.
Among candidates who ran visible races, the presumed front-runners, Beers, 52, and Truesdell, 57, had the highest-profile campaigns.
And voters, at least those who showed up, responded.
On election day and during early voting, many echoed the campaign slogans and ideas of their preferred candidate.
One of Beers' first acts in the campaign was to suggest real estate developers shouldn't be allowed on the city Planning Commission, a direct shot at Truesdell, a developer who serves on that commission.
And it was a shot voters noticed.
"I do not want Truesdell in there," said Alan Klawitter, 60, a geologist, adding that he voted for Beers. "I usually don't vote for Republicans as a rule of thumb, but I really think real estate developers have run roughshod in Las Vegas for quite some time. I don't trust them."
Beers wasn't the only candidate whose message appeared to sink in with the electorate.
Truesdell appeared to buy himself some good will by heavily featuring former Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, in his campaign messages.
The Goodmans, who combined have won four citywide campaigns, often by wide margins, are among the most recognizable politicians in Southern Nevada.
"I hadn't made up my mind. Then I noticed the Goodmans endorsed him," said Truesdell voter Warren Benedict, 57, a test car driver. "That was important to me. Oscar has done excellent work in Las Vegas."
William Heaivlin, 45, an attorney, voted early for Kuzemka and said one reason is he thinks there should be more diversity on the City Council.
Kuzemka, a public defender, would have been the first openly gay person elected to council.
"I think having that voice on the City Council would be a good thing," Heaivlin said.
Other voters seemed exasperated by the fast pace of the campaign, the negative attacks and the frequent contacts from campaigns.
Wendy Anderson, 57, a piano teacher, said she was ready for the race to be over.
"I don't like the phone calls, and I don't like the junk mail," she said.
Ward 2 covers much of the southwest part of the city, roughly bounded by Tenaya Way, Desert Inn Road, Lake Mead Boulevard and the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
The annual salary for the position is $72,742.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.