Carson mayoral candidates go on the attack |

Carson mayoral candidates go on the attack

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealCarson City mayoral candidates spoke to a crowd of about 150 people Wednesday night at the Plaza Hotel Conference Center. From left are, Ken Haskins, Bob Crowell, Sean Lehmann, Jim Shirk, Pete Hansell, standing, and Steve McClung. The event, hosted by the Carson City Democratic Central Committee, also included a supervisors forum.

Candidates for Carson City mayor criticized each other publicly at a forum Wednesday night, less than a week before the primary election.

Lobbyist and school board member Bob Crowell took the majority of the attacks at the Plaza Hotel in a conference room filled with more than 150 people.

Crowell, who other candidates acknowledged as the front-runner, has raised more money than the other five candidates combined.

This is something, said real estate agent Jim Shirk, that tells a lot about Crowell, who supports downtown redevelopment.

“Bob believes a vibrant downtown that is critical to every Carson City resident,” he said. “I strongly disagree. What is critical to every Carson City resident is a strong, vibrant local economy. What is important to the casinos, developers and prominent businesses is a vibrant downtown.”

Sean Lehmann, a 36-year-old podiatrist, has criticized incumbents as well as Crowell as insiders looking out for their own interests and who are not right for the city in a time of change.

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“The word ‘good old boy’ comes up over and over again,” he said.

Crowell named as one of his strengths that he has worked with state and federal officials before on projects, but Pete Hansell, an entrepreneur, said “I don’t think we need connections,” but rather people working together.

Crowell didn’t criticize the other candidates, but was complimented when responding to issues, like water rights, where he gave much more thorough answers than the other candidates.

Other attacks included Ken Haskins, pastor of First Christian Church, making fun of Shirk’s plan to ban plastic bags in the city.

Steve McClung, owner of a locksmith business, kidded Hansell, who he sat next to, throughout the debate.

“Master’s degree, huh?” he said after Hansell, who has such a degree, responded to a question.

It was one-liners like these and frankness that made McClung popular with the crowd, his responses getting some of the best reactions of the night.

The room laughed and clapped after he gave his answer to a question about incentives for businesses.

“I got to tell you, it’s like trying to buy someone’s love,” he said. “It doesn’t work. It works for a short term, but long term it doesn’t work. They’re going to cheat on us.”

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.