By Mark Waite
Frank Carbone upset two-term county Commissioner Gary Hollis by 348 votes, a winning margin of 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent, Tuesday night.
Carbone polled 1,698 votes in the Nye County Commission District 2 race; Hollis had 1,350 votes.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Hollis said. “I had a record I ran on; they have a right to make up their mind. The commissioner’s seat does not belong to the commissioner, it belongs to the people. I’m man enough to take my licks and accept whatever the people want.”
Hollis didn’t know how Carbone would fare as a commissioner.
“I don’t know very much about the guy, nice guy though,” he said.
Carbone, a retired aerospace worker, said people wanted different choices.
“It feels great. It’s nice to know that there are so many people out there that are willing to take a chance on someone who is pretty much unknown,” he said.
In the District 3 county commission race, Donna Cox, president of the Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community, edged out Ken Searles, a Nevada electoral delegate, 1,596 votes to 1,488 votes, a margin of 51.75 percent to 48.25 percent.
Fifth District Judge Kimberly Wanker won a ringing endorsement from Nye County voters after her appointment by Gov. Brian Sandoval last year; she had a two-to-one lead over attorney Nancy Lord in the southern Nye County vote count. Wanker tallied 10,204 votes to Lord’s 5,177 votes, which don’t include northern Nye County. She will fill in the last two years in the late Judge John Davis’ unexpired term. An election will be held in 2014 for the full six-year term.
“I’m always flattered. I campaigned hard and I went to everywhere in the jurisdiction. I think I won Mineral County with 68.1 percent of the vote and 71 percent of the vote in Esmeralda County,” Wanker said. “I love what I do. I work hard, at this point I’m just trying to take it all in, it’s hard to believe, I’ve been campaigning since January. I’m very grateful to the voters,” she said.
Former Nye County Chief Civil Deputy District Attorney Ron Kent trounced Louis De Canio, winning 8,266 votes, 61.13 percent, to DeCanio’s 5,256 votes, 38.87 percent in the Pahrump Justice of the Peace race.
DeCanio wasn’t conceding the race while waiting at the county courthouse. It was his third unsuccessful attempt at the Pahrump J.P. seat.
“I got a great response from the town, one-on-one when I talk to people,” DeCanio said.
Kent said it was a hard-fought campaign for over 10 months since the early judicial candidates’ filing period in January.
“When I first started practicing law, I hoped at one time to be able to take the bench. I think most attorneys who are dedicated to the law at one time they want to take the bench. That was the case for me. I’ve been successful in this campaign. I want to thank the voters for allowing me the opportunity,” Kent said.
The ballot question asking to terminate the current Pahrump town board form of government narrowly passed, with 7,294 voters in favor, or 50.8 percent, while 7,063 voters were opposed, or 49.2 percent.
Despite passage of this question, two new town board members were also elected Tuesday night. Amy Riches was the top vote getter with 5,940 votes; Bill Dolan finished second with 5,622 votes. Current board chair Vicky Parker lost her seat. She came in fourth place behind Frank Maurizio. Parker earned 5,011 votes, and Maurizio had 5,410.
Nye County voters overwhelmingly voted against a ballot question to raise the gas tax from four cents per gallon to seven cents, by 12,795 votes to 3,747 votes, a margin of 77.35 percent to 22.65 percent. It was the second time the question went before voters. The vote against was 78 percent to 22 percent in 2010.
Republican James Oscarson, the marketing manager at Desert View Hospital, won Nye County by a margin of 64.49 percent to 35.5 percent over Democrat Anthony Wernicke. Oscarson was ahead 9,765 votes to 5,377 votes.
“I’m very pleased, I’m honestly very humbled. It’s a huge responsibility and I’m looking onward to the challenge and the task of representing people in Assembly District 36,” Oscarson said.
Nevada Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, also handily won election, with 45.6 percent of the Nye County vote, 7,032 votes; Democrat Harley Kulkin won 4,859 votes, or 31.5 percent, while Independent American Party candidate Janine Hansen had 3,518 votes, or 22.8 percent.
Nye County voters went Republican in higher profile races. Former Gov. Mitt Romney polled 10,241 votes, 59.89 percent, to President Barack Obama’s 6.242 votes, 36.5 percent.
U.S. Den. Dean Heller, R-Nev., trounced U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., in the U.S. Senate race in Nye County, by a margin of 55 percent to 30.9 percent after the early and absentee vote. Heller was ahead 9,267 votes to 5,206 votes not counting northern Nye County totals.
Republican Danny Tarkanian took 55.9 percent of the Nye County vote for the new Congressional District 4 seat, Democratic State Senator Steve Horsford of North Las Vegas was well behind with 31.03 percent. Tarkanian had 9,274 votes to Horsford’s 5,148 votes, not counting northern Nye County results which weren’t available by press time.