Incumbents easily get past challengers

Incumbents holding state offices easily cruised to victory over their challengers on Tuesday.

When Gov. Jim Gibbons fell from a horse and was out of commission, Nevadans learned first-hand the importance of having a competent lieutenant governor in office.

On Tuesday, voters appeared to have little difficulty determining that the best person for the job was Republican Brian Krolicki, who gained experience running the state when Gibbons was hospitalized, over Jessica Sferrazza, a longtime member of the Reno City Council.

Krolicki captured 51 percent of the vote, Democrat Sferrazza collected 42 percent, and Independent American Ryan Fitzgibbons received 3 percent.

During his campaign, Krolicki emphasized that one of the lieutenant governor’s most important jobs is chairing the Nevada Commission on Economic Development and that job creation has never been more important in the state.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s seat was never in danger, despite her critics’ outrage over her refusal to follow Gibbons’ directive to join a lawsuit by other states against the federal government over the national health care initiative.

Masto, a Democrat, collected 53 percent of the vote. Republican opponent Travis Barrick brought in 36 percent and Independent American challenger Joel Hansen received 7 percent.

Despite claims that Masto refused to back Gibbons because of their party differences, Masto said she doesn’t “play political politics.” She said the fact she was endorsed by the major law enforcement agencies in Clark and Washoe counties proves that she has done her job well.

Secretary of State Ross Miller showed that he can multitask by handling Election Day power outages and long lines at polls that delayed the election as he himself was in the middle of a race.

The incumbent overcame Rob Lauer, taking 54 percent of the votes compared with Lauer’s 37 percent. Lauer’s chances to unseat Miller were hindered by a pending legal case involving battery charges and a second in which a California man claimed Lauer sold him an airplane that was a piece of junk.

Miller touted legislation he passed that allowed Nevada soldiers stationed overseas to register to vote by e-mail. After Nevada passed its law, other states followed suit.

Ross, who is the youngest secretary of state in the country, recently was elected by his peers to be president of the National Association of Secretaries of State for 2012.

Kate Marshall easily slid into her second term as state treasurer by defeating Republican challenger Steve Martin, outpolling him 49 percent to 44 percent. Independent American Mike Hawkins collected 3 percent.

On the campaign trail, the Democratic incumbent touted her successful investment strategy, which is anticipating market fluctuations. Marshall also said she is nonpartisan when it comes to her job overseeing the state’s $2.5 billion investment portfolio.

State Controller Kim Wallin slipped by Republican Barry Herr, receiving 47 percent of the votes to Herr’s 43 percent. Warren Markowitz, an Independent American Party candidate, received 4 percent.

While Herr told voters he would argue against any tax increases, but Wallin maintained that offering an opinion on whether to increase taxes or cut services isn’t the job of the controller. Instead, she said, it is to explore the fiscal issues and explain them to the legislature.

“As an accountant, if you’re talking to the Legislature … you’re talking about numbers, and the numbers are the numbers,” she said.

Wallin was first elected to office in 2006.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at or 702-387-2904.

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