Published Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 | 7:32 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 | 10:05 p.m.
Republican upstart Jon Ozark has defeated polarizing Assemblyman Bob Beers for the Republican nomination in District 21.
Ozark, who sought to frame himself as the "real conservative" in the race, has 69.3 percent of the vote with 72 percent of the precincts reporting. Beers won over just 30.7 percent of the vote.
"The election shows that people are thirsting for real Republican leadership," Ozark said in a phone interview tonight.
Beers couldn't be reached for comment.
As a rule, the Republican Party supports its incumbents in all races, including those involving Republican challengers. But Beers didn’t enjoy much support from the Republican establishment, as the Sun reported last month.
Conservative blogger Chuck Muth, a former head of the Nevada Republican Party, has described Beers as a “useful idiot” for Assembly Democrats.
Beers angered Republicans by co-sponsoring multiple Democratic bills. He didn’t adopt the standard Republican position in a dispute tip-sharing dispute between management and dealers at Wynn Las Vegas.
He also amassed far less campaign dollars than Ozark.
Beers readily acknowledges that he’s a maverick, a term he views favorably. He says he’s not beholden to party interests, but instead to his fairly moderate district.
He also is quick to admit he’s benefited from sharing the same name as Republican Senator Bob Beers of Las Vegas, a popular libertarian among southern Nevada conservatives.
Ozark also angered some Republicans in the race, though not as many. Two years ago, Ozark ran in a Las Vegas district. So his move back to Henderson, where he lived prior to the race in Las Vegas, angered some Republicans.
The Republican nominee will face Ellen Spiegel, the lone Democrat who filed for the seat. Spiegel has sought the seat for months, campaigning as far back as late December at an event hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at Venetian Las Vegas. She also reported more campaign funds than Beers and Ozark in the most recent financial disclosures with the state.
In Assembly District 21, the Republicans hold a slight voter advantage by a little more than 400 over their Democratic counterparts, but the fate of the seat in November could rest in the hands of the nearly 3,550 registered as nonpartisan.