Whitten, Flanagan, Swafford win in Storey County

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Storey County voters sent a solid message Tuesday, giving incumbent Sheriff Pat Whitten 59.2 percent of the vote and the nod for another term over opponent Tyler Clarke.

Whitten's term was marred by the death of local character Bob McKinney, shot to death May 10 by Storey County sheriff's Deputy Mark McCreary after a confrontation between McKinney and some tourists outside the Firehouse Restaurant and Saloon.

The tragedy followed him throughout the campaign, but in the end was not enough to sway voter confidence.

"I am deeply appreciative of the confidence the people of Storey County have shown, the support they have given me," he said. "They've expressed confidence in my performance over the past four years and we're going to keep making progress."

Whitten was manager and administrator with the Bank of America and retail business owner until he ran for sheriff and won in 1998.

Lawyer Harold Swafford chalked up a solid victory in the race for district attorney when voters gave him 60.8 percent of the vote over Sharon Claassen, Storey County's deputy district attorney.

Swafford, who lost a bid for justice of the peace two years ago, credits his win to the fact that he is better known in the county.

"For me, this is a big victory," Swafford said. "I'm very pleased that I'll be working for the county in January."

Claassen also said name recognition was a big factor in the race.

"He's better known around the county. I think that's why he won," she said. "I'm amazingly OK with it. I'm not running off the hill."

In the District 1 race for Storey County commissioner, longtime Virginia City resident John Flanagan defeated school board member Cathylee James with 68.6 percent of the vote.

"I want to thank voters of Storey County for supporting me. I think my message must have been right," Flanagan said. "I think my experience was very important in the the race. People realize that I have the ability to be a problem solver."

Flanagan worked for Nevada's Highway Department in the right-of-way and legal division for 14 years. He served on the Storey County school board and followed in his father's footsteps by winning a bid for county assessor in 1979, a post he held for 16 years.


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