YERINGTON - Two Lyon County attorneys captured enough Churchill County votes in Tuesday's primary election to edge out Churchill's contender for the judge's bench in the Third Judicial District.
Lyon County District Attorney Robert Estes captured the most votes in both counties, and Yerington attorney Wayne Pederson did well enough in Churchill County to come in second place in the two-county race.
Estes and Pederson will face off in the general election in November to pick a new district judge for Lyon and Churchill counties. The top two candidates qualify for the November election.
Churchill County Deputy District Attorney Will Mattly did well in his home county but did not gain enough Lyon County votes to climb out of third place.
Estes finished with 4,441 votes in both counties (2,649 in Lyon, 1,792 in Churchill), Pederson with 2,763 votes (1,724 in Lyon, 1,039 in Churchill) and Mattly with 2,543 votes (1,662 in Churchill, 881 in Lyon).
In the Dayton Township Justice of the Peace race, attorney William Rogers came out on top with 1,063 votes. He will face metallurgical engineer John Bennetts in November.
Bennetts got 524 votes, followed by school bus driver Linda Rhoades with 355 votes and retired postal worker Stanleigh Harold Lusak with 82 votes.
Estes, Lyon County's district attorney since 1995, didn't expect to get the most votes in the neighboring county.
"I campaigned really hard in Churchill," said Estes, who was exiled from his office Tuesday because the DA's office is within 100 feet of a polling station. "No one knew who I was. I grew to like Churchill quite a lot."
He believes his philosophy of what a judge should be struck a chord in Churchill County, and he thinks his record as a prosecutor stood well in Lyon County.
"Probably our aggressive prosecution of violent criminals (gained the support of Lyon voters)," Estes said. "We're not afraid to go to trial and we do."
Pederson and Mattly were neck and neck until the final votes in Dayton and Mound House were counted. Western Lyon County gave Pederson the decisive second place.
Pederson said he visited 1,500 homes in Fallon and sent out mailers but didn't do nearly as much campaigning in Churchill County as he wanted.
"If I can get Mattly's support (for the general election), I might have a chance," Pederson said.