Sheriff Kenny Furlong, after keying his campaign to gang smack down and decreased crime, cruised to an outright re-election victory in Tuesday’s primary by defeating three challengers.
“This is a much stronger showing of support than I had expected,” said Furlong, a Carson City native who toiled in public safety during a 20-year career in the military and since in Nevada state and local law enforcement. He was celebrating the triumph with friends and family at home Tuesday night. “Everybody here at my house is overwhelmed by this.”
The incumbent sheriff, first elected in 2003, has held the office since and sought a fourth term. He was challenged by two members of his office and a former Marine Corps provost marshal military policeman. The challengers were Sgt. Daniel Gonzales, Deputy Sheriff Donald Gibson and Lorne R. Houle, the former provost marshal.
With 100 percent of the vote tallied, Furlong cornered 60 percent. Gonzales trailed with 22 percent, Gibson with 17 percent and Houle was last at 1 percent.
Gonzales and Gibson both had criticized Furlong’s management approach. Furlong was challenged over the need for more line officers and public service orientation, with less emphasis on top level personnel.
Gonzales also talked of innovation and technology, as well as providing more even-handed treatment for all citizens. Gibson, who manages the deputy association for collective bargaining, said there should be more line officers and people deployed on the streets each shift. He also said morale has been low and was vocal about attacking drug crime at the pusher level, rather than targeting users and expecting anything other than failure.
Furlong, as early returns gave him what looked like an insurmountable lead, said his work to curb gang activities in Carson City was a significant factor in giving him an outright win. That means he won’t have to deal with the November general election because, if a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, the race is over and he or she is the immediate victor. Furlong has touted his gang-fight stance for years.
“I think that was a tremendous factor for us,” Furlong said. He said in the past four years, adjustments have led to proactive changes in combating gang-related crime.
Furlong also campaigned on lower crime rates in general, saying rates had dropped to a 20-year low by 2013 and continued quiescent into this year.
The sheriff said Tuesday night another part of his success was due to working well with the city, including not only government departments but residents and organizations, at a time when cooperation seems in the ascendancy.
“You can’t ask for anything better than that in a community,” he said, noting new City Manager Nick Marano will reap similar dividends. “With a new city manager on board, he’s coming in at a great time.”