The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling Friday mandating a runoff election in the Ely mayoral race.
Former Mayor George Chachas won last month's primary election and claimed victory in the race. But incumbent Bob Miller argued the practice of declaring the majority winner in a primary the victor is contrary to state law.
Senior Judge Joe Pavlikowski agreed, ordering the two men face off in a June 7 general election.
He relied on an attorney general's opinion which said current statute allows a primary candidate in a large city election to be declared the winner if he gets a majority of votes. But it says that rule doesn't apply in small cities like Ely, which has less than 5,000 residents.
Chachas took the issue to the Nevada Supreme Court, but that body Friday unanimously denied his petition for a writ of mandamus. The high court said when there are three or more candidates, the two top vote getters advance to the general election, even if one received a majority in the primary. The order said the only exception is for larger cities.
Both Chachas and Miller have been Ely mayor in the past. Chachas was recalled from office in 1994. Miller won re-election in 2003, but Chachas won a lawsuit voiding that election because Miller was not a resident of Ely at the time.
This election was called to settle the battle.