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Series of upsets mark Nye County’s 2018 primary election

The night of the 2018 primary election was a wild ride for many candidates as they closely tracked the results of the thousands of votes cast on Tuesday.

In the end, there were three major upsets in the races of most importance to Nye County voters, with incumbents James Oscarson, Angela Bello and Dan Schinhofen all unseated by their competition.

After several lead changes in the Nevada Assembly District 36 race, brothel owner Dennis Hof managed to snatch the win from under Oscarson with nearly 43 percent of the vote. Hof received a total of 2,921 votes district-wide while Oscarson fell short by more than 400 votes, taking in 2,489 or 36.49 percent. Assembly candidate Dr. Joseph Bradley had an unexpectedly good showing with more than 20 percent of the vote or 1,411 ballots. Hof will head to the general where he will be pitted against Democrat Lesia Romanov.

Hof was obviously ecstatic about the news of his win, celebrating with a crowd of supporters that night. “Right prevailed over the dirty establishment,” Hof said following the primary. “The people know I am a RINO hunter, a Republican in Name Only hunter. They’re sick of the status quo of the establishment buying candidates like James. The voters have seen their lives get better with a businessman as president and they wanted a businessman in the Assembly.”

Nye County contests

For the Nye County Commission District 5 race, incumbent Schinhofen was seeking his third and final term but he too suffered a defeat. Debra Strickland had set her sights on the District 5 post and she ultimately arose triumphant, garnering 36.5 percent of the vote to Schinhofen’s 31.75 percent, or 446 and 388 votes.

Commission candidates Dwight Lilly and Leo Marchetti couldn’t catch Strickland either, coming in with 23.49 and 8.27 percent respectively. Due to the fact that there were no Democratic or third party candidates filed for this race, Strickland was declared the county’s new District 5 representative and will not have to head to the general election in November.

Strickland was bubbling with enthusiasm, remarking that she felt her win was all due to the community’s desire for a change in leadership. “I am so pleased I get to represent the people. I have gotten so many texts and calls this morning, it’s very humbling,” Strickland said the day after the election. “And I am hitting the ground running.” Strickland said she is already marching forward with her duties and is looking forward to the start of her official four-year term.

Another upheaval took place in the battle for Nye County district attorney. Incumbent Angela Bello fell to newcomer Chris Arabia in an incredibly tight race. Bello scored 2,478 votes but Arabia’s 2,516 were enough to push her out of office. Arabia will now have to face Democrat Nicholas Del Vecchio in the 2018 general election.

“I tip my hat to Angela for running a great campaign,” Arabia said when reached for comment. “I am honored and humbled today and will keep doing my best for the people of this county.”

Commission District 4, other contests

The closest Nye County race of the primary, however, was for Nye County Commission District 4, with that race decided by just 8 votes. Candidate Leo Blundo eked out a win with 355 votes to Tina Trenner’s 347. Ron Boskovich came in third at 322 votes while Walt Turner received 136.

“I am humbled by the voice of the people in District 4. I commend my primary opponents as it was a close race,” Blundo stated. “I look forward to getting to know you even better in the upcoming months. My door is always open. Reach me directly on my cell, 702-595-2269.” Blundo will face Democrat Richard Goldstein in the general.

Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky will term out in 2019 and was hoping to move on to a new post in Nye County, however, he lost to the sitting Nye County treasurer in the race for that seat, claiming 1,297 votes to Webster’s 1,745. Of the remainder of the votes for treasurer, John Prudhont came away with 1,264 and Mary Dawn Zlotek finished last with 651. Webster now heads to the general to battle it out with Lance Schaus of the Independent American Party.

The two Nye County sheriff’s candidates who made it through the nonpartisan primary and will now head to the general are incumbent Sharon Wehrly and former Sheriff Tony DeMeo. Just over 400 votes separated the two, with Wehrly’s results reported at 2,861 votes and DeMeo’s at 2,456. David Hiebert came in third in the pool of 10 total sheriff hopefuls, taking 1,348 votes. The remainder of the vote was spread between the rest of the candidates.

DeMeo offered his gratitude to those who supported him and stated, “During the primary process I was truly humbled by the many supporters who placed their confidence in me. My responsibility now is to reward that confidence by showing all the voters why I am the most qualified and best candidate to lead the office of sheriff. Thank you again, and I look forward to campaigning throughout Nye County to answer the tough questions many of you may have while listening and discussing the way ahead for the improved security and safety of our citizens.”

Wehrly expressed her thanks to the public as well, stating, “I was elated, humbled and want to thank everyone who voted. I felt this election would be a testimony to the efforts and inroads made in restructuring the sheriff’s office and the position I took to ensure the office meets state mandates. Thanks again for your reaffirmation that I am meeting your expectations and we will remain on our present course. I will keep you updated on our progress as we approach the general election and ask for your vote November 6, 2018.”

Justice of peace, administrator

Lisa Chamlee was, by and large, the most successful in the Pahrump justice of the peace race, bringing in more than double the next highest vote-earner. Chamlee gained 3,431 votes while former commissioner Frank Carbone came in second with 1,773 votes. However, Chamlee’s results were shy of giving her a primary victory as she only earned 47.25 percent rather than the necessary 50 percent plus one vote. Thus, she will head to the general election for another battle against Carbone. Justice of the peace candidates Randy Jones, Warren Pawliuk, Richard Hamilton and Robert Martin earned 993, 618, 252 and 194 votes, respectively.

“I am truly humbled by the trust and confidence that the voters have placed in me, and grateful for the opportunity to move forward as a candidate for Pahrump justice of the peace in the November election. I look forward to continuing to serve this community as justice of the peace, and I sincerely appreciate all of the support I have received during my campaign,” Chamlee responded when reached for comment.

“I would like to thank all of the people that came out to vote during the primary, and for the people that selected me to vote for,” Carbone said. “The primary is a very important part of our process for finding honest and fair candidates to move forward to the general election. After the general election, those individuals will be responsible for running our local, state and federal government. So do your research, talk to the candidates before making your final decisions.”

Nye County Public Administrator Ginger Stumne was the only other Nye County candidate to end the primary election knowing she would not have to battle in the general election. Only she and fellow Republican Oren Hampton filed for this office and Stumne walked away with 3,268 votes to Hampton’s 1,467.

“I’m glad to see that I have helped to change the public view of the PA office toward a positive aspect of helping families in some of the worst times,” Stumne remarked. “I now need to focus on the lost side of Nye County, such as Sunnyside, Warm Springs, Manhattan, Johnnie, Bonnie Claire and the other northern outlying areas of Nye County… Nye County is large and we have forgotten about many of the other parts of our county. Even I have. I’m looking to change that in my office.”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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