Kieckhefer tops Schmidt in state Senate race

Ben Kieckhefer

Ben Kieckhefer

State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer grabbed another primary victory over Gary Schmidt in the Republican primary for State Senate District 16 on Tuesday.

With all returns in, Kieckhefer topped Schmidt by 12 percentage points (6,518 votes to 5,076). In Carson City, Kieckhefer garnered 2,606 votes to Schmidt’s 2.145.

Kieckhefer said he appreciates the support in Carson City which he described as “a well informed voter base, always has been.”

He will meet Carson City Democrat Tina Davis-Hersey in the November general election.

“I hope to continue serving the residents of Carson City,” he said.

The district represents Carson City and south Washoe County along with Incline Village.

The campaign was marked by continuous attacks on Kieckhefer by Schmidt who tried to paint him as a tax-and-spend RINO for his support of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s K-12 education funding.

In contrast, Kieckhefer said he did “zero negative campaigning this cycle.”

“I didn’t go after him at all,” he said.

This is the second time Schmidt has attempted to oust Kieckhefer in the primary. He was beaten by a 2-to-1 margin four years ago.

One piece of the puzzle remains unresolved. Carson District Judge James Wilson disqualified Schmidt agreeing with the Secretary of State’s office Schmidt didn’t live in District 16 because his address — the Reindeer Lodge half way up the Mount Rose Highway — has been uninhabitable since its roof collapsed under the weight of 25 feet of snow a year and a half ago.

The Nevada Supreme Court put Schmidt back on the ballot, staying his disqualification on grounds the issue of residency needs to be resolved. But the hearing to do so won’t happen until July. The question now is whether the high court cancels that hearing as moot.


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