While Republicans made substantial gains at the federal level on Tuesday, Democrats kept complete control of the Clark County Commission, the elected body that many consider the most influential in the state.
Two incumbents and a former county School Board member won handily, guaranteeing the seven-person commission will remain all-Democratic for at least two more years.
The three winners had two advantages: being in solidly blue districts and far surpassing their Republican opponents in campaign fundraising.
The most competitive race was between Republican Douglas Bell, a retired county finance official, and Democrat Mary Beth Scow, who served 12 years on the School Board. They were vying for the District G seat that Democrat Rory Reid was vacating in his bid for governor.
Scow drew 55 percent of the vote, soundly defeating Bell, with 39 percent . Libertarian Tim Hagan received 4 percent and Independent American Party Del Hadarly got 2 percent.
Scow will take office as a new commissioner amid growing labor tension between the county and unions, and a budget crisis that could worsen next year, especially if state lawmakers raid the county’s coffers to offset an estimated $3 billion state shortfall.
“The first order of business is to try to work on the economy and do everything possible to create jobs and help businesses flourish,” said Scow in a phone interview Tuesday night as her supporters cheered loudly in the background. “And do what we can to fill up (vacant) homes.”
District E featured the most lopsided race between four-year Democratic incumbent Chris Giunchigliani and Republican Ben Boarman, a 24-year-old security guard with no experience in elected office.
Giunchigliani practically ran uncontested against Boarman, who barely campaigned.
Her efforts earned her 69 percent of the vote, dwarfing Boarman’s 31 percent .
In District F, Democrat Susan Brager, another four-year incumbent, received little threat from Republican Mitchell Tracy and Jeff “Sarge” Durbin of the Independent American Party.
Brager garnered 56 percent of the vote, pulling away from Tracy and Durbin, who received 38 percent and 6 percent , respectively.
At a voting site at Woodbury Middle School, a dozen people leaving the polls said they were unfamiliar with both candidates.
Most voted along party lines.
Teesha Knox, 22, said she voted a Democratic ticket.
That included Scow, even though she knew little about the County Commission race, she said.
Janet Knight, a Republican, went against the anti-Democratic political tide sweeping much of country. She voted for Democrats this election, including Scow.
Knight said she, as a teacher, supports Democrats’ effort to overhaul health care and improve education.
“I’m voting a little differently than in the past,” Knight said.
Lawrence and Diana Holden said they tend to vote Republican and opted to go with Bell.
However, they said they didn’t vote blindly for Republican candidates.
They researched various candidates as best they could in between working and running a business.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@review
journal.com or 702-455-4519.