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April 17, 2014

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suburban elections:

Recapping the municipal primaries

Who won, who lost — candidates and beyond

Municipal Elections

Volunteer Linda Daniel calls for the next voter as Sam Roberson casts his vote in the municipal primary election Tuesday at the Galleria Mall. Launch slideshow »

Voters this week greeted primary elections in Henderson and North Las Vegas with more gaping yawns, but turned out in respectable numbers in Boulder City.

There were no upsets or surprises Tuesday night. The big-money candidates, mostly experienced politicians, performed just as expected and will move on to the June 2 general elections.

So in addition to the election results, who else won — and lost — at the polls?

Winners

• Campaign donors: They got what they wanted. The candidates with the most money finished at the top of both mayoral races, proving that having cash to cram mailboxes with fliers, put signs on seemingly every corner and, in the case of two Henderson mayoral candidates, air television commercials continues to be a successful formula.

To advance to the June runoff to be Henderson’s next mayor, first-place finisher Andy Hafen, a retired business license inspector, spent nearly $200,000 through the end of March. Steve Kirk, director of acquisitions at a real estate firm, stayed in the running after spending more than $255,000. Their three competitors spent a total of less than $50,000.

In North Las Vegas, Shari Buck, a mother of four, spent $247,000, and William Robinson, a retired school counselor, spent $183,000, to finish at the top of the city’s mayoral race. In Boulder City, the two candidates with the most money finished1-2.

• Jim Ferrence: The veteran muni-

cipal campaign manager was 3-for-3 in getting his candidates to the general election. He piloted campaigns for Kirk and Robinson as well as Kathleen Boutin’s Henderson City Council race for an open seat. The newcomer to elected politics finished a commanding first in a field of six and will face Cathy Rosenfield in the general election.

• Boulder City pride: Forty percent of the city’s voters turned out, nearly four times the percentage in neighboring Henderson. When it comes to municipal elections, no other Clark County city takes it so seriously.

• Duncan McCoy: By just seven votes, the former Boulder City Library director won a City Council seat by securing a majority vote, avoiding a runoff. Cam Walker, a project manager, and Bill Smith, a former council member and retired travel agent, still must battle for the other open seat.

• Boulder City manager: Vicki Mayes seems safe in her job. Going into the election, three members of the City Council were in her corner. On Wednesday, she was still able to count to three, maybe even four.

Losers

• Civic engagement: Turnout among active voters was only 13 percent in Henderson and 12 percent in North Las Vegas. In Henderson, voters were no more than three miles from one of 15 voting centers.

• Stephanie Smith: She was the only big-money mayoral candidate not to move on to the general election. Her $193,000 got her only 21 percent of the vote in North Las Vegas. She’s term-limited in her council seat, meaning the music teacher’s days in City Hall will soon end unless she sits in the audience.

• Rookies: Two first-time candidates in mayoral races — urban planner Ned Thomas in North Las Vegas and retired police chief Mike Mayberry in Henderson — each finished fourth in five-candidate fields.

• Joe Roche: At the outset of his run for a Boulder City Council seat, the recycling consultant was considered a front-runner. But he took a beating during the campaign, with robocalls that challenged his employment history, a lawsuit filed by a former employer and questions about his role on a charitable board. Roche finished fourth in a field of 10, with 13 percent of the vote.

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