Erquiaga retains commission seat

Nate Fiske votes early Tuesday morning as Peggy Ibbeson, left, and Wilma Mansfield use a new computer software program for checking in voters.

Nate Fiske votes early Tuesday morning as Peggy Ibbeson, left, and Wilma Mansfield use a new computer software program for checking in voters.

Incumbent Carl Erquiaga, who was seeking his third term on the Churchill County Board of Commissioners, defeated Bill Slentz, 1,161 votes (5.15 percent) to 944 (44.85 percent).

Final statewide results were unavailable at press time.

Both Erquiaga and Slentz touted their experience in public service, each having been active in numerous local and statewide boards. Erquiaga, who won his third and final term, will not be able to run again because of state-mandated term limits.

Early voting in Churchill County was light, said Erin Montalvo, deputy clerk at the Churchill County Clerk/Treasurer’s office. A total of 1,750 ballots including absentee were cast during a two-week period that ended Friday. Of that number, 175 were absentee ballots.

Those who cast ballots, the Republicans held about a 3 to 1 ratio over the Democrat. Montalvo said 2,967 registered voters out of 11,746 — 0r 25 percent — went to the polls.

Churchill County also had two nonpartisan races which were easily decided Tuesday.

Phil Pinder (2,179), Tricia Strasdin (2,081) and Kathryn Whitaker (2,144) were candidates for three open seats on the school board.

Sheldon Chipp (2,412) and Marion Jonte (2,196) were the only candidates for two openings on the Mosquito, Vector and Noxious Weed Abatement Board.

Statewide, more than 143,000 took advantage of voting early or by mail. Ballots are in for about 11 percent of Nevada’s 1.3 million active voters.

Those who voted on Tuesday also saw a different setup at the Fallon Convention Center, one that has been in place for early voting at the commission chambers since 2004. Volunteers used computers instead of ledgers to look up names. Instead of going to tables based on alphabetical order, voters could go to any table. Montalvo said a new computer software program made the process easier to use this year.

According to many political observers, the statewide races may have garnered the most interest, especially for U.S. Senate.

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and the Republican Joe Heck were expected to defeat their challengers, including Heck rival and previous Senate candidate Sharron Angle. In Churchill County, Heck had 1,218 votes followed by Angle with 659. Nine candidates competed for the Republican senate race.

During the 2010 election, Angle captured Churchill County in both the primary and general elections.

Masto easily breezed to a win in Churchill County by garnering 471 votes. None of these candidates came in second with 51 votes, and Allen Rheinhart had 41. Liddo O’Briant and Bobby Mahendra rounded out the field with 25 and 19 votes respectively.

The Senate race is expected to intensify after the primary because it will be decisive for control of the Senate majority.

In Northern Nevada, Rep. Mark Amodei isn’t facing major obstacles on his bid for re-election on the Republican side. Three Democrats, though, are battling each other to face Amodei in the general election: Chip Evans, who has the backing of Reid; Vince Alm, who ran in 2014; and Rick Shepherd, a business owner. Reid led Churchill County with 268 votes followed by Shepherd with 268 and Alm, 87.

Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Smith Valley, who represents District 38 (Churchill and the majority of Lyon County), will face George Dini, son of former Assembly Speaker Joe Dini. He owns the family’s casino-restaurant, Dini’s Lucky Club, in Yerington along with his brother Jay. Titus is a physician in Lyon County.

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