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August 20, 2014

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Doubrava wins Regents seat; few other surprises in education board elections

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Mark Doubrava, candidate for board of regents, waits during a candidate day on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010, at the County Government Center. The event is chance for county employees and the public to talk to candidates for public office.

There were few surprises in voting for board members of the two most important educational institutions in the state — Clark County’s public schools and the state’s public university system.

The exception was a race for the 13-member Board of Regents, which oversees the university system.

The challenger, Mark Doubrava, an eye doctor and political newcomer, appeared to defeat Ray Rawson, a dentist and a former assistant majority leader in the state Senate.

In the May primary, the race was one of the closest of the season. A classroom’s worth of votes — 34 out of 18,238 cast in a four-person race — separated the two, with Rawson coming in second to Doubrava.

Tuesday night, as of 10 p.m., Doubrava was leading in the nonpartisan race, with nearly 17,000 votes, or 54 percent, compared with Rawson’s more than 14,000 votes, or 46 percent.

Doubrava spent more than $100,000 on his campaign, much of it from his own pocket.

With the votes still being counted, Doubrava did not claim victory but said, “We just worked hard and rang doorbells and met voters and got out our message that I’m a fresh face with a fresh perspective.”

Rawson did not concede. “It’s really too early to say, but if present trends do continue, I do wish him well,” he said.

The regents are like a corporation’s board of directors. They are also unusually powerful.

Unlike in California, where separate boards have say over universities, state colleges and community colleges, the Nevada board has jurisdiction over all three.

In the three other regents races, James Dean Leavitt, the incumbent chairman, was leading in District 13 against challenger Joe Pitts, a former firefighter.

Kevin Page, the regent for District 3, was leading challenger Ken Lange, a former teachers union leader. Andrea Anderson, regent for District 12, was leading challenger Mark Newburn, a computer scientist.

In the races for Clark County School Board, arguably the most contentious was between the board’s vice president, Carolyn Edwards, and challenger Ken Small, an architect.

Edwards and several other trustees had become lightning rods at often boisterous school board meetings.

Supporters of Jim Rogers, a former university system chancellor and unsuccessful candidate for school superintendent, would shout their criticism.

Rogers had criticized Edwards in an Aug. 23 letter, likening her to Queen Elizabeth I. He wrote: “I have concluded that you believe you were elected to rule rather than to serve.”

In the end, Edwards appears to have won. As of 10 p.m., Edwards had more than 59 percent of the vote, or 28,000 votes, against Small’s 40 percent, or 19,000 votes.

In other school board races, Lorraine Alderman, a former admissions official at UNLV, was leading Javier Trujillo, a lobbyist for the city of Henderson, and Erin Cranor, a member of the district’s school zoning committee, was leading James Brooks, a 20-year-old student at the College of Southern Nevada.

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