By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Voters across the state went to the polls on Tuesday, June 12, to cast their ballots in the 2012 Primary election and to determine which candidates from their parties would appear on the General ballot in November.
State officials expected the voter turnout around the state to be low in the primary election this year. They were not disappointed.
Only 19% of voters statewide participated in Nevada’s primary. That was a significant drop from the 30% voter turnout that occurred in the 2010 primary elections.
In the state’s more populous urban counties the turnout numbers were the most dismal. In Clark County only 16% of voters bothered to show up to the polls. In Washoe County, which contains the city of Reno, turnout was just under 20%.
While not stellar, the more conservative rural areas of the state saw turnouts much higher than the state-wide average. The estimated turnout in Moapa Valley was estimated at around 38%. Lincoln County reported a turnout of 32% and Nye County saw 25%. The highest turnout in the state was in Eureka County where they saw 56% of voters participate at the polls.
In the local primary race for Moapa Valley Justice of the Peace, incumbent Judge Lanny Waite carried a strong lead with 59% of the vote; a total of 755 votes. In second place was attorney, Tony Terry who received 354 votes which amounted to nearly 28%. Local attorney Renee Mancino came in third place with 165 votes and 13% of the total.
Since the top two candidates advance to the general election, Waite and Terry will face off on the general election ballot in November.
In an interview with the Progress, Waite commented that he was very pleased with the outcome of the primary.
“I appreciated the folks that came out and voted and shared their support,” Waite said. “While we don’t take anything for granted, we are cautiously optimistic about the general election in November.”
Waite said that, as he had gone out during the primary race and spoken to local voters, folks had affirmed to him that things were going well with the court.
“People told me that change isn’t necessarily a good thing if you already have a good thing,” Waite said. “The most common thing I heard out there was that old maxim: If it is not broke, don’t fix it.”
In a written statement to the Progress, Terry said that many Moapa Valley residents that he had spoken to, had told him it was time for a change in the courts. Terry stated that his candidacy held out the opportunity for such a change and he called on local residents to register and vote in the November election.
“I strongly believe in term limits for every elected position,” Terry said. “I believe that being in office for a lengthy period of time develops an attitude of entitlement and power. I encourage every qualified individual to register and vote in this coming election. We only had 38% of the registered voters express their will in the Primary. Every citizen has an obligation to do their part in ensuring that government is for the people and of the people. I look forward to an election reflecting the will of all the residents in this valley.”
Terry also expressed appreciation for local residents who had given support to his campaign.
“I would like to thank all those who have supported and encouraged me in this campaign,” he said. “I believe that this community is a great community because there are a lot of great people that live here. No matter who the judge is, it will still be a great community because it is the quality of people that make it great.”
In a race for the new Assembly District 36, James Oscarson, marketing director for Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, edged out Logandale resident and OPD General Manager Delmar Leatham. Oscarson won with 1,618 votes to Leatham’s 1,220 votes.
Leatham won in Clark County with 646 votes to Oscarson’s 143. He also won in Lincoln County with 126 votes while Oscarson only took 13 votes there.
But that wasn’t enough to beat Oscarson’s overwhelming lead in Nye County which includes Oscarson’s home town of Pahrump. There, Oscarson received 1,462 votes to Leatham’s 448.
Oscarson eclipsed his opponent in the size of his campaign war chest. By the primary, he had raised $31,204. While Leatham, a relative late-comer in the race, had raised $8,014.
Oscarson will now face little-known Democratic candidate, Anthony Wernicke, of North Las Vegas, in the November election.
Oscarson, who once lived in Logandale and still owns property here, said he was excited about the possibility of working with Moapa Valley residents and representing them at the legislature.
“I know that they [Logandale residents] had their favorite in this election,” Oscarson said. “But I hope that I can become their favorite as well. Having lived there and knowing their lifestyle and the frustrations that they face there, I’m very excited at the possibility that I can be working directly with them again.”
In the Republican race for the 4th Congressional District, Danny Tarkanian narrowly beat State Senator Barbara Cegavske to advance to the November general election against Democrat State Senator Steven Horsford.
It was a close race with Tarkanian ending up with 32% of the vote compared to 28% for Cegavske. Kenneth Wegner of Las Vegas took 3rd place with 21% of the vote.
Cegavske won the more populous Clark County with 5,448 to Tarkanian’s 4,888 votes. Wegner was only slightly behind Tarkanian in Clark County with 4,144 votes.
But Tarkanian made up the difference with a strong showing in the district’s more rural areas including Esmeralda, Lyon, Mineral, White Pine and Lincoln counties.
Tarkanian now faces an uphill battle in the new congressional district created as a result of the 2010 census. The sprawling district, composed of parts of urban Clark County and stretching across the state to several rural counties, has a 113,000 to 90,000 Democratic voter edge as of the close of the primary.
In the primary race for U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Dean Heller had no trouble in winning his primary with 86% of the Republican vote throughout the state. Heller will be up against Rep. Shelley Berkley in the General Election. Berkley won the Democratic Primary with 79% of the vote.