Hafen sworn in as Henderson mayor after recount confirms victory


Andy Hafen’s 45-vote victory in the race for Henderson mayor was confirmed Tuesday in a recount that failed to find even a single ballot out of place.

The two-hour recount requested by Henderson City Councilman Steve Kirk, Hafen’s opponent in the race, came up with the same result as election night: 9,700 votes for Hafen, 9,655 for Kirk. That’s a margin of less than one-half of 1 percent.

Hafen was sworn in as mayor of Nevada’s second most populous city in an emotional ceremony Tuesday night.

Kirk said he was not surprised by the outcome of the recount.

“I didn’t expect it would change, honestly,” he said. “It was more for my supporters. I did this exclusively for them.”

Neither candidate sat in on the recount, but each had a campaign representative on hand.

As a result, the two men missed out on the chance to hear their names repeated several hundred times.

“Hafen.”

“Hafen.”

“Kirk.”

“Kirk.”

So it went for a full hour, as 463 mail ballots from eight precincts picked by Kirk were displayed on an overhead projector and read aloud one after the other by a team of county election workers.

After the hand count yielded no discrepancies, those same ballots were fed through electronic readers that spit out the same result.

The last step: Feed all 2,324 mail ballots through the machines to confirm the election night count. They were and it was.

Henderson City Clerk Monica Simmons could not have been less surprised.

“The results were as I expected,” she said. “I think this process really helps with voter confidence.”

Hafen, who spent 22 years as a city councilman, received an ovation after taking the oath of office.

“I promise as the 12th mayor of this great city, I won’t let you down,” he said.

He replaces popular Mayor Jim Gibson, who was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election after 12 years on the job.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said Kirk has until next week to contest the election results in court.

Kirk has no plans to do that. As far as he is concerned, there’s nothing to contest.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to do that. This isn’t Chicago,” he said.

His plan now is to “unify together with Andy Hafen and the others on the council,” he said.

Kirk has two years left on his current council term, after which he will be prevented from running again because of term limits.

Kirk didn’t walk away from Tuesday’s recount completely empty handed. He will receive an $800 refund for the cost of the process.

Kirk was required to put down a $1,600 deposit, but Lomax said he decided to cut that in half because Kirk only requested a recount of the mail ballots.

 

Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.

 

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