He out-raised and out-spent his opponents by nearly 2-to-1, but Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett could not campaign his way around his disastrous Father’s Day on a California highway just west of Pahrump.
Two months after he crashed two vehicles on the same lonesome road in a six-hour span, the second wreck prompting a drunken driving charge, Beckett finished a distant third in a three-way race for district judge in Central Nevada.
The longtime Nye County prosecutor garnered less than 14 percent of the vote in his failed bid to replace incumbent Judge John Davis.
Davis, who is seeking a fourth six-year term on the bench, captured more than 56 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary. He will face Marla Zlotek, a deputy prosecutor in Beckett’s office, in the Nov. 4 general election.
Zlotek took 30 percent of the vote, more than double her boss’s total.
Early in the race, Beckett seemed poised to cruise through the primary election and possibly unseat Davis in Nevada’s Fifth Judicial District, which takes in all of Nye, Esmeralda and Mineral counties.
Then came the bizarre events of June 15: separate single-vehicle crashes on the same 35-mile stretch of California Route 127, the first in his county-issued sport utility vehicle and the second, in his own van, resulting in his arrest.
The story was picked up by media outlets across the country, where it most often played in winking fashion as a "news of the weird" item.
In Nye County’s other judge race, Linda DeMeo survived conflict-of-interest questions to advance past the primary.
The wife of Sheriff Tony DeMeo finished first out of 13 candidates for justice of the peace in Pahrump’s Department 2, a newly created post to serve the growing community 60 miles west of Las Vegas.
She will face former sheriff’s Deputy Kent Jasperson in the general election. She also is expected to face more questions about how she plans to keep her marriage from influencing her work as a judge.
In other Nye County races of note:
• Incumbent Gary Hollis and challenger Lorinda Wichman easily won their respective Republican primary contests for seats on the County Commission.
• Four incumbent School Board members — J.E. "Doc" McNeely, Kevin Pape, Harold Tokerud and Tracie Ward — all won new terms outright, either by defeating their only challenger or drawing no opponent at all.
• The field of Pahrump Town Board candidates was trimmed from nine to four, with Sean Brooks, Mike Darby, Vicky Parker and incumbent Don Rust still in the running for two available seats.
Beckett has two years left on his current term as district attorney. His arraignment on the drunken driving charge is Sept. 2 in a Barstow, Calif., superior court.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at email@example.com or 702-383-0350.