Challenger Lori Bagwell defeated Supervisor John McKenna Tuesday, sending the Carson City incumbent toward the sidelines after contesting a downtown remake he had supported.
Capturing the Board of Supervisors seat from Ward 3 by posting a 52-48 percentage victory, Bagwell capitalized on her contention McKenna had talked of fiscal soundness but disappointed residents who put him in office. McKenna’s loss came after one four-year term as a supervisor and 16 years on Carson City’s School Board of Trustees, which amounts to two decades in elective office.
A retired state employee who co-owns a Carson Mall restaurant with her husband, Bagwell thanked McKenna for his public service. She also pledged to do what she could to deal with the downtown makeover project despite lack of a majority to thwart it.
“I’m going to honor my commitment to the people,” said Bagwell, “and if I have an opportunity to make that change I will.”
She was speaking from a victory party at the Casino Fandango and said she knew Supervisor Karen Abowd had won re-election, which meant at least three members supporting a downtown makeover remained in place. The five-member board passed a one-eighth of a penny city sales tax hike to do the downtown changes and other capital projects with four supporters this year, including McKenna.
Bagwell commended all this year’s candidates, “especially my opponent, John McKenna,” despite her disagreement with him over downtown.
She also voiced thanks to the late Assemblyman Pete Livermore, who previously was on the Board of Supervisors and who died just days before this year’s campaign ended. She said the assemblyman had supported her and Livermore’s widow, Laurie, was at the Republican victory party.
Bagwell, whose career in state government was at the Department of Corrections where her last role was as deputy director, looked forward to working toward community economic development next year.
“I want to work on development around the airport,” she said, and “really bring some economic development to Carson City.”
Both Bagwell and McKenna said theirs’ was a clean campaign. McKenna said he was unsure about any future bid for elective office. He promised to follow through with working on a project he kept highlighting throughout his bid for a second term. He had talked continually about supporting the multi-purpose athletic center (MAC), one of the projects in those lumped with downtown, other business corridor makeovers and capital projects.
“I am going to make sure the MAC is built,” he said.