Accused of being a racist three months after taking public office, Nye County Assessor Shirley Matson has survived a recall effort.
Recall organizer Stephanie Lopez submitted the signatures of 2,600 voters to the county clerk on Monday in an effort to force a special election. That was short about 1,000 signatures.
In March, Matson was publicly reprimanded by the Nye County Commission and rebuked by Sheriff Tony DeMeo after the former San Diego resident ordered him to check the citizenship status of a predominantly Latino workforce building a new jail in Pahrump.
At the same time, the Pahrump Valley Times published emails Matson sent to a reporter in which she referred to illegal immigrants as "locusts crossing our great country destroying everything in sight" and said females who are in the country illegally will "spread their legs to anyone to get an anchor baby growing in their bellies."
Matson always argued that her hatred was not for Mexicans or others of Latin descent but for those who enter the country illegally.
She has remained unapologetic since the scandal broke seven months ago. Since then, the controversy gained nationwide attention on both sides of the immigration debate.
"I am not anti Hispanics or anyone else!" she wrote in an email. "I am just against anyone illegally in our country committing crimes against the U.S. citizens."
From Lopez's perspective, the recall effort was worthwhile even if it failed .
"I'm not surprised," Lopez said. "We were working against rumors like you get in a small town.
"They said I (support) illegal immigration, which is absolutely untrue," she said.
And though she said she was the target of "some mean people," Lopez said she doesn't think there are more than a handful of racists in Pahrump .
Matson credited the conservative political values embodied by the rural county's electorate for her political survival. She said she will continue to stand against illegal immigrants, saying they "discredit" legal immigrants.