RENO - A woman who headed an unsuccessful effort to save the historic Mapes Hotel then turned her disgust toward city hall was leading a primary Tuesday for a seat on the Reno City Council.
Toni Harsh, president of the Truckee Meadows Heritage Trust, was leading incumbent Tom Herndon 48 percent to 26 percent with more than three-fourths of the precincts reporting in the race for the Ward 1 council seat.
The top two candidates for each seat advance to the general election and Herndon appeared to be in position to face off against Harsh again in November in his bid to win re-election to a third term.
Among the other Ward 1 candidates, Larry Martin had about 21 percent, Jerry Olsen about 3 percent and Guy Zewadski 2 percent.
Harsh was among several candidates who joined the race after the Mapes Hotel-Casino was demolished in January, the first time a building targeted for protection by the National Trust for Historic Preservation had succumbed to the wrecking ball.
In addition to the Mapes, those challengers generally are opposed to a hotly debated $213 million proposal that Mayor Jeff Griffin and several council members are backing to build a railroad trench through downtown.
Their opponents include Jessica Sferrazza-Hogan, daughter of former Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza, who was leading a crowded field for a Ward 3 seat with 33 percent of the vote. With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, only a handful of votes separated Richard Odynski, Terry Herman and Glade Hall in a battle for the second spot in the race that had no incumbent.
Two other incumbents targeted by the Mapes backers, Dave Aiazzi in Ward 5, and Pierre Hascheff in the at-large race, were facing stiff challenges but both appeared guaranteed at least a second-place finish that would push them into the general election.
Hascheff had 37 percent of the vote in the at-large contest with 92 percent of the precincts counted, followed by former City Councilwoman Judy Pruett-Herman with 26 percent and Mike Robinson with 24 percent.
Robinson, another loud critic of the railroad trench and the Mapes demolition, is the leader of a petition drive aimed at recalling Mayor Griffin.
Pruett-Herman lost to Griffin in a mayoral race two years ago.
In Ward 5, Aiazzi and James Tracy both had about 40 percent of the vote with 96 percent of the precincts reporting. Their next closest competitor was James Seele with 13 percent.