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Preliminary results show Hughes leading for state ed board

Updated November 4, 2020 - 1:58 pm

Preliminary election results Wednesday show Tim Hughes leading for a Clark County seat on the Nevada State Board of Education, while Lois Tarkanian, Byron Brooks and Patrick Boylan are ahead for the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents.

Preliminary election results were posted around 3:30 a.m. on the Clark County elections website. It shows all 125 Election Day vote centers reporting, but some mail-in ballots haven’t been received and that could lead to a different winner in close races.

Hughes and Angelo Casino faced off for the Board of Education’s District 1 seat during Tuesday’s election. The 11-member board, which consists of four elected members and seven who are appointed, is the state Department of Education’s governing body. The seat is currently held by Robert Blakely, who didn’t run for re-election.

Hughes is ahead in the race, garnering nearly 52 percent of the vote, while Casino received about 48 percent.

Hughes, who previously ran for a seat on the board in 2016, is a vice president for TNTP, a national nonprofit that aims to address educational inequity. He’s a former middle school science teacher and principal. He wasn’t available for comment Wednesday morning.

Casino is a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Somerset Academy Lone Mountain, a public charter school in Las Vegas.

“I am very hopeful and optimistic, in light of the preliminary votes that have been accounted for thus far,” he said in a Wednesday statement to the Review-Journal.

Three of the Clark County seats on the Board of Regents were also up for grabs. The board oversees the state’s public higher education system, which is made up of eight schools that serve more than 107,600 students.

Tarkanian and Bret Whipple ran for the District 2 seat. The race wasn’t on the primary ballot in June since there were only two candidates.

Tarkanian is in the lead with 60 percent of the vote, while Whipple received nearly 40 percent. Neither was available to comment Wednesday morning.

Tarkanian served for 14 years on the Las Vegas City Council until summer 2019, and was also previously a Clark County School Board trustee for 12 years and spent time as board president.

Whipple, an attorney and partner with Justice Law Center, previously served on the Board of Regents from 2003 to 2008 — two of those years as chairman — until he lost a reelection bid. He’s part of a fourth-generation Nevada ranching family.

The winner of the race will replace Regent Trevor Hayes, who did not seek re-election.

For the District 5 seat, semi-retired educator Boylan and Dr. Nick “Doc” Spirtos faced off. It’s a tight race, with Boylan garnering nearly 51 percent of the vote and Spirtos with about 49 percent. There’s a razor-thin margin between the candidates and Boylan is up by just 358 votes.

Sam Lieberman was the incumbent and was planning to seek re-election, but he died in April at age 58 while in office. Gov. Steve Sisolak appointed Lisa Levine in June to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.

Boylan is a semi-retired educator — he was a community college computer instructor for 11 years — who leads trainings on safety and emergency management. He served on the Nevada State Board of Education from 2002 to 2006.

“I just hope I keep winning and I do win,” Boylan said Wednesday. He said it’s “really a question of what’s best for education,” noting he has a background as an educator and is a UNLV alumnus.

Boylan said so many politicians got involved in the non-partisan race and his opponent spent much more money on the campaign than he did. Boylan’s campaign finance reports show no contributions or expenditures.

First and second quarter campaign finance reports for Spirtos show a total of $15,720.54 in contributions and $14,716.97 in expenses.

The vast majority of contributions reported were from Spirtos, except for two approximately $500 donations: one from Local Union 357 and one from Clark County Firefighters.

Spirtos is medical director at Women’s Cancer Center of Nevada and previously ran for the Board of Regents in 2014.

Spirtos said Wednesday he’s happy the preliminary results show the race is so close given the Review-Journal didn’t endorse him.

“If Mr. Boylan is elected, I only hope good things for him,” Spirtos said, noting his opponent has good intentions and will do a good job.

Byron Brooks and Swadeep Nigam were vying for the District 3 seat. Brooks is leading with about 55 percent of the vote and Nigam garnered nearly 45 percent.

Brooks, who’s on the school organizational team at Twitchell Elementary School in Henderson, owns a small business called Lduna Aesthetics and Wellness Center. The Army combat veteran, who was previously a government contractor for the Defense and State departments, is also active with community suicide prevention efforts.

Nigam, who ran for the Board of Regents in 2014, is director of business development for Paul Padda Law. He currently serves on the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Nigam, in a Wednesday statement to the Review-Journal, said the experience of running for elected office was “amazing and exhilarating.”

“I was hopeful for a more favorable outcome,” he said, but added he’s proud of the community-driven campaign he ran.

“After reviewing the current reported results, my campaign was expecting a tighter race,” he said. “While I am disappointed with the result, I respect the decision of the voters. Given my demonstrated commitment to higher education I believe I could have made valuable contributions as a regent. The voters instead opted for a bail bondsman.”

Brooks didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

The winner of that race will replace Regent Kevin Page, who did not seek re-election.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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