The brief but bitter campaign to oust Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross is almost over, but not without some parting shots.
In the final hours of campaigning before Tuesday's election, pro- and anti-Ross forces in northwest Las Vegas beat the streets for votes and beat up on each other with mailers, phone calls and news conferences.
"It seems to be a little overboard," said David Redding, a Ward 6 voter who said he fielded dozens of phone calls, mailers and visits from canvassers. "There are a lot of people around here who say they are going to be glad when this election is over, no matter which way it goes."
Planning Commissioner Byron Goynes, 51, is seeking to oust Ross in a special election prompted by a separate effort funded by car dealer and Ross foe Joe Scala that gathered about 1,100 signatures on a recall petition.
With Goynes' campaign, which has included mailers, billboards, signs and precinct walking, the Committee to Recall Steve Ross and Ross, 49, and his supporters have bombarded the district with their messages.
The result is an electorate divided between people who support the recall and those who think Ross should stay in office.
Recall supporters point to a series of decisions by Ross that they say show the councilman doesn't deserve to finish his term.
They include the dispute with Scala in which Ross refused to support Scala's request to extend an exemption that would have allowed the sale of used cars in an auto mall reserved for new vehicle sales.
Scala said he was forced to close his upscale, vintage car dealership on Dec. 24, 2010, because of the refusal. Ross said Scala didn't get support from other dealers in the auto mall, which he set as a condition for the exemption.
In another dispute, Ross went against the desire of some residents by supporting the opening of Molly's Tavern in a mall near a YMCA and a library.
The car dealership and the tavern were included in a news conference recall organizers held Monday with Ward 6 residents.
"This confrontational attitude is not good," real estate agent and Ward 6 resident Scott Anderson said at the news conference. "We need to create small-business jobs."
Other residents, such as Redding, who complained about being harassed at his home by anti-Ross canvassers, say they're fine with the councilman.
"We met Steve Ross, and we liked him and the work he has done," Redding said. "I've contacted him for a number of services; we've got good responses."
Early voting numbers suggest higher-than-expected turnout but only because expectations were low to start with.
Through two days of early voting, which concluded Friday, more than 2,600 of about 49,000 eligible voters had cast ballots, enough for campaign staffs and elections officials to anticipate the total turnout could approach 5,000.
"We could match the general (election) in 2009; I think that would be pretty unprecedented for a special election," Goynes campaign manager Steve Forsythe said.
Not surprisingly, each side thinks it will benefit from higher turnout.
"We've gone through and broken down the first days' voting, and there are an awful lot of people we've ID'd as Goynes supporters or signed the recall petition," against Ross, Forsythe said.
Meanwhile, Ross spokesman Steve Redlinger said he thinks his side will benefit from more voters because he believes Ross has a larger base of support to start with.
Ross, who raised more than $100,000 to defend the seat compared to Goynes who raised just $9,000 to snatch it, is expected to have an organizational advantage.
"If turnout is of a normal level, Steve Ross will be fine," Redlinger said.
"We are just trying to make sure that our people ... that supported the recall are going to get their friends and neighbors out to vote," said Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, one of the recall organizers.
Several other recall signature-gatherers moved from the committee to Goynes' campaign once Goynes, a community and employment liaison for Workforce Connections, a state-sponsored employment agency, qualified for the ballot.
The staffing move prompted Ross, whose day job is executive director of the Southern Nevada Labor Management Cooperation Committee, a union-sponsored group that advocates for compliance with labor laws, to allege Goynes' candidacy is at Scala's behest despite the fact Scala's cash support was limited to the recall and didn't go to Goynes' campaign, according to campaign finance records.
Still, the former recall workers' familiarity with the ward going against Ross' well-funded organization means both sides are working hard to squeeze every last vote from a small pool of likely voters.
"Both sides are pushing hard," Forsythe said. "We've done everything I think we could possibly do with the resources we had. Signs, grass-roots and direct," mail.
Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said he expects results could post as early as 7:15 or 7:30 p.m.
The winner will serve the remainder of Ross' current term, which expires in April 2013. The salary for the job is $72,742.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@ reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.