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2 incumbents lose CCSD board seats; 4 new regents on tap

Clark County voters have replaced two School Board incumbents but retained a third, according to unofficial election results updated by the county Wednesday.

Newcomer Brenda Zamora, a first-time candidate and progressive advocate, unseated incumbent and school board president Irene Cepeda in District D, while former Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams defeated incumbent Danielle Ford by 3,866 votes – the narrowest margin of the three races – in District F, according to the county.

Incumbent Linda Cavazos was the only trustee to successfully defend her seat in District G against challenger and former Eureka County School District superintendent Greg Wieman.

Zamora, Bustamante Adams and Cavazos had been holding as the frontrunners in their respective races as results trickled in over the last week. The board oversees the fifth largest school system in the nation.

The school board race had the potential to uphold or upend the current balance of power on a board that has recently made many of its decisions along a split 4-3 vote, including the controversial firing and rehiring of Superintendent Jesus Jara.

In a statement posted to Twitter Sunday night, Cavazos said that – while the results had not been officially called – she appeared to have been re-elected and sent a heartfelt thanks to her family, friends, volunteers and community supporters.

None of the school board candidates immediately returned a request for comment Wednesday about the results.

Board of Regents

Voters will also see four newcomers representing Clark County on the 13-member board overseeing the state’s institutions of higher education.

Heather Brown, Susan Brager, Michelee “Shelly” Crawford and Stephanie Goodman were elected to the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents, where four seats were up for grabs and only one incumbent, John Moran, ran for re-election.

Members of the Board of Regents serve six-year terms and oversee eight schools that represent approximately 100,000 students, including UNLV, UNR, the College of Southern Nevada and the Desert Research Institute.

Goodman defeated Moran in District 13, while Brown, Brager and Crawford won their respective races against Jeanine Dakduk, David “Coach” Crete and John Patrick Rice, respectively.

Goodman said Tuesday she was thrilled she won the election. The Board of Regents has gotten a bad rap, she said, and she was excited about doing some great things for students, employees and the system.

In a written statement Tuesday, Brown said the close elections proved how important voting is and how every voice matters.

“I look forward to helping shape the future of higher education and the trajectory of Nevada,” she wrote. “This is my home, and I want to be a part of its diversification and next wave of innovation.”

In a written statement Tuesday, Crawford said she was thankful that the community believed in her ability to represent them. Her opponent, Rice, congratulated Crawford in a written statement, saying he had confidence in her ability to lead the Nevada System of Higher Education in the right direction.

“This is a rural seat and I plan to support our community’s unique funding, access, and program needs,” Crawford wrote. “With my background as a K-12 educator, I plan to educate and excite future college students because college is possible for everyone.”

Brager said Tuesday she was grateful to voters for having confidence in her and that she was looking forward to serving on the board.

Contact Lorraine Longhi at 702-387-5298 or llonghi @reviewjournal.com. Follow her at @lolonghi on Twitter.

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