Sheriff’s candidate Sharon Wehrly breezed to an easy win over Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, while Las Vegas attorney Angela Bello scored an upset over first-term incumbent District Attorney Brian Kunzi in the Tuesday election.
Wehrly polled 68 percent of the vote to Marshall’s 30.8 percent; Wehrly tallied 8,208 votes to Marshall’s 3,660 votes.
When asked how she felt about the early numbers after the early vote showed her ahead with 68 percent of the vote, Wehrly said, “I am still a little apprehensive about the numbers. I want to wait until the final numbers are in before I start getting all bouncy and jolly and happy.”
“If I do win though the first thing I will do is to make sure that my second in command knows that we are a team and we are going ahead. Then the planning will start. What I am going to do when I get in there is that the first 30 days the public will have an update. Then it will be 60 and 100 days. And from then on we will continue to let people know what is going on and so we will have an absolute transparent office,” Wehrly said.
“The hardest thing for me on this campaign has been keeping my mouth shut. When I need to talk I will just go for long walks. I don’t like mud slinging and I never had,” she said.
Bello defeated Kunzi 61,5 percent to 38.5 percent, leading by 7,388 votes to 4,618 votes. Kunzi made an issue out of Bello’s residency, having recently moved to Pahrump. Bello pledged more openness in the DA’s office.
Nye County District Attorney candidate Angela Bello was ebullient about her vote total just a few hours after the polls closed.
“I feel very optimistic. It’s in the hands of the people right now and no matter what happens, it was a fantastic experience. This is America, and this is how the democratic process works,” she said.
Additionally, Bello was not ready to declare victory even though she maintained a solid lead throughout the evening.
“Until I actually see all the final numbers, I’m just holding my breath and remaining hopeful.” she said. “I actually feel great right now. When it’s over, it’s over and that’s when I’ll start breathing easy. Until it’s over, your fate is hanging in the balance.”
Bello also said she was quite pleased with how she ran her campaign.
“I made a point to run a very positive campaign. We raised about half of the money, which is not all that unusual. The funds raised came from businesses and a lot of individuals. I’ve never been part of the process and this was my first campaign,” she said.
Kunzi wasn’t available for comment when final results came in. The only Democrat to hold countywide office in the last four years, he narrrowly defeated Republican Ron Kent to win his first term in 2010 by 182 votes.
County Commission District 5 candidate Dan Schinhofen, a Republican, tallied 1,574 votes, 58.75 percent of the total, well more than his two challengers combined, to win a second term. Democrat Bob Howard won 462 votes, 17.3 percent, Independent American Party candidate Rick Osborne, the former Nye County manager tallied 643 votes, 24 percent.
“I’m honored and humbled. I’m happy to win and I think that percentage of win in a three-way race lets me know to keep doing what I’m doing which is look at each issue. I’ll get all the facts I can get and make my best decision. I’ll keep doing that and hopefully move forward with Yucca Mountain and infrastructure,” Schinhofen said.
Personal property appraiser Sheree Stringer defeated her boss, embattled first-term County Assessor Shirley Matson 7,109 votes to 4,288 votes, a margin of 63.5 percent to 36.5 percent. Stringer pledged to restore confidence in the assessor’s office and kept it out of the newspapers.
“I am just absolutely thankful that the voters came out and did what they did,” Stringer said. She didn’t think Matson had a chance amid all the controversy in the office, with Matson being raided by the FBI and the subject of an ethics complaint.
Deputy Public Administrator Robin Dorand-Rudolf defeated Bob Pilkington, owner of My Paralegal, 5,710 votes to 4,940 votes, a margin of 53.6 percent to 46.4 percent.
The local school district bond issue failed, by a vote of 6,739 votes to 5,229 votes, a margin of 56.3 percent to 43.7 percent.
Fifth District Judge Robert Lane, who first won election in 2000, won an easy victory for another term with 4,755 votes, 68.66 percent of the vote, Pahrump attorney Lillian “Lil” Donohue captured 3,742 votes, 31.34 percent.
County Clerk Sam Merlino, a Republican, the longest serving elected county official first appointed in 1999, easily won another term, polling 8,655 votes, 72.14 percent of the total, former chief deputy clerk Sheila Winn, a Democrat, had 3,343 votes, 27.9 percent.
“I’m happy. I feel like I’ve done a good job for the last 14 years and I’d like to continue. I’m just glad this election is over,” Merlino said.
Merlino, the last countywide official from Tonopah, admitted the prospect of an opponent from Pahrump, the main population base with 82 percent of the population, worried her.
“I will never take it for granted. I’m worried every time somebody runs against me,” Merlino said.