Updated June 15, 2022 - 12:52 pm
Kevin McMahill took a strong lead Tuesday night in the race to determine who will become the next Clark County sheriff.
In unofficial results posted early Wednesday, McMahill had 58 percent of the vote, followed by Tom Roberts with 23.5 percent. That’s enough for McMahill to win the office outright and avoid a November runoff.
Yellow and green balloons decorated tables at the Siegel’s Bagelmania eatery near the Las Vegas Strip where a crooner performing Rat Pack-era numbers delighted about a couple hundred attendees, most of whom wore green McMahill campaign shirts.
At about 9:45 p.m., McMahill took the microphone and announced that preliminary results were in.
“We still got a long way to go,” he said.
But McMahill assured supporters he would “cruise on to victory,” drawing loud cheers and “Kevin” chants.
“It’s been a very long and difficult campaign, a lot of nastiness in this,” he said. “But I promise you this: I’m going to take care of our police officers in a way we’ve never taken care of you, and I’m going to take care of this community in a way we’ve never taken care of it.”
He later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he knew his message would resonate with the community.
If he ends up winning the office, McMahill said his administration would work to lower crime and strengthen community partnerships to combat mental health issues, addiction and homelessness to “make this the best community it’s ever been.”
“Nobody is going to outwork me,” he added. “I’ll tell you that.”
Metro vets face off
The nonpartisan race pitted a trio of Metropolitan Police Department retired veterans with nearly a century of combined experience. The candidates are vying to replace Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who decided to run for governor instead of re-election.
If one of the three candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote, he will be elected outright; otherwise, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff in November. Tuesday’s results included in-person early and Election Day voting and mail ballots received and counted before Tuesday. But mail ballots postmarked by Tuesday will continue to be counted.
McMahill had a substantial fundraising advantage and touted endorsements from law-enforcement figures including Lombardo.
He said in a previous interview that he wants Metro to be one of the most technologically advanced police departments in the U.S. and that under his tenure, police-community relations and transparency would improve.
McMahill’s campaign was roiled earlier this year after allegations that he mistreated a woman during a stop in 1995 — when he was a patrol officer — re-emerged. An internal affairs investigation recommended he be fired, but McMahill kept his job and rose to the No. 2 position in the agency before retiring at the end of 2020. McMahill adamantly denied any wrongdoing.
Roberts, a Nevada assemblyman and former Metro assistant sheriff, hoped his time in the Nevada Legislature and academic certifications could help carry him over the line.
“With 10 percent precincts reporting, hopefully we can improve those percentages to keep McMahill under 50 percent but doubtful,” Roberts said in a text message after the first results came in Tuesday night.
Roberts said that under his tenure, Metro would increase collaboration with the community, including academia.
Pandemic inspires run
Stan Hyt, a retired sergeant, said pandemic-related policies and the 2020 election inspired his run.
He cited election irregularities and fraud that have repeatedly been disproved by Nevada officials.
As sheriff, Hyt said, his administration would re-establish relationships with immigration authorities and refocus efforts to combat sex trafficking.
Hyt had received nearly 16 percent of the vote after the preliminary results came in Tuesday night.
“Win, lose or draw, we had a great year, and we’re happy as can be to be at this point,” said Hyt from his north valley home, where a couple dozen supporters had gathered.
If he lost, he added, he would call the winner to offer congratulations.
“They’re good guys, both of them,” he said about McMahill and Roberts. “I just don’t agree with their politics.”