It was a tight race for most of the night, with two seasoned elected leaders trading slim leads several times in their bid for the Clark County Commission seat that Rory Reid is leaving.
But a little after 11 p.m., Mary Beth Scow slipped past David Parks, winning the Democratic primary that pundits say almost guarantees the victor will be the next county commissioner in the heavily blue District G, in the central part of the Las Vegas Valley.
Scow, a former Clark County School Board member, beat Parks, a state senator, by a mere 91 votes in a five-way race. Scow garnered 3,004 votes for 34 percent, edging past Parks who got 2,913 votes for 33 percent.
"I'm thankful to the voters who responded to my message," Scow said. "I really want to be a hard-working commissioner."
Parks couldn't be reached after the final vote tally to comment on whether he would consider requesting a recount.
Earlier Tuesday night, Parks said he was surprised it was such a close contest. In his past races, he had won at least 56 percent of the vote, Parks said.
He attributed the close race partly to low voter turnout. Scow also had the advantage of being the lone woman among three men, allowing her to stand out, he said.
"In general, it would give her an advantage," Parks said.
The nearest runner-up after Parks was Greg Esposito, a county planner, who drew 24 percent of the vote. Ron Newell, another county planner, received 6 percent and Michael Dicks got 4 percent.
Scow said she wasn't surprised it was a competitive race. Her campaign staff did exit polls of early voters last week, revealing a close margin between her and Parks.
That motivated her to step up her shoe-leather campaigning, she said. "We tried to get out the vote."
Parks, 66, touted his three decades in government, including 14 years in the Legislature. Scow pointed to her 12 years on the School Board, making what she described as tough decisions about children.
Scow will run against Republican Douglas Bell, Libertarian Timothy Hagan and Independent American Party member Delano Hadarly in the November general election.
It was a subdued race, with just a tinge of negative campaigning surfacing last week. Parks sent out a mailer that made unflattering rankings of his opponents, and Scow mailed a flier bashing Parks' public record.
In the commission's District F, Republican Mitchell Tracy drew almost 53 percent of the vote for a sound victory over Billy Johnson, who got 47 percent.
Tracy will face one-term incumbent Susan Brager, Democrat, and Jeff "Sarge" Durbin of the Independent American Party in the general election.
Although Reid's district is strongly Democratic, a few voters leaving a polling site at White Middle School were staunch conservatives.
Donna Klein, 73, took a break from tending her husband at a local hospice so she could cast a ballot. She planned to vote for the Republican commission candidate in the general election.
Klein didn't know his name but said that if he's Republican, that was good enough.
"I voted Democrat twice in my life, and I was sorry both times," Klein said.
David and Diane Kopasz were avowed conservatives who registered independent because they were dissatisfied with the direction the Republican Party had gone.
"It's the only thing you can do to say you're mad," Diane Kopasz, 62, said.
Two men who arrived together were supporting different Democratic candidates.
Greg Allen, 42, aimed to vote for Esposito because that was the only candidate he knew. LeRoy Dunn, 63, was going with Scow because he liked that she talked to him on the phone several times.
"She's the one that's interested in what you've got to say," Dunn said.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@review journal.com or 702-455-4519.