Douglas County roundup: Penzel unseats Olson |

Douglas County roundup: Penzel unseats Olson

by Kurt Hildebrand

Incumbent County Commissioner Mike Olson was at a Genoa Town Board meeting as the votes were counted on Tuesday night. Not long after the board retired, Olson learned that he’d lost a close race to challenger Barry Penzel, 10,757 to 10,087.

Olson received only 670 votes fewer than Penzel, closing a little of the gap that he had to overcome from the primary.

“Barry’s a good guy he worked hard and did a good job,” Olson said. “There was not a lot of angst and anger in that campaign. The people of Douglas County had a tough choice to make and they made it. I think I contributed to accomplishing some good things for Douglas County, we’ll see how they pan out.”

Penzel thanked both the people of Douglas County and Olson for running a good campaign.

“I’m very grateful and I’m humbled by the experience,” Penzel said. “I’m looking forward to working with commissioners, and I’m anxious to find out what the residents’ priorities are so we can align them with the county. This is a great opportunity to move the county forward in a cooperative way and I’m really anxious to get the process going.”

Incumbent commissioner Doug Johnson won a third and last term in the election by defeating Planning Commissioner Frank Godecke, 11,609 votes to 9,503.

“You’ve got to be a little humbled,” Johnson said. “With 55-45 percent, there’s still a good portion of Douglas County that’s not on my side. I’m sure I’ve made some decisions that irritated a few people.”

Johnson, who will be only the second commissioner in Douglas County history to term limit out, said he spent the last four days distributing 1,600 door hangers and that he felt voters’ opposition.

“I could feel that people disagreed with me on deciding factors,” he said. “Out of all the elections this was the toughest. I was stressed out all the way through this.”

Johnson thanked the people of Douglas County for their vote.

“I’m real proud and real honored to be re-elected,” he said. “I never, ever thought I’d do this in the first place.”

Godecke said his first foray into politics was a positive one.

“This has been a really fun experience,” he said. “I’ve had a great time getting out and meeting people. Even though I’m a native and I’ve lived here all my life, there were a lot of people I didn’t know out there. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, except for this last part. I wish Doug all the best in his last four years.”

Incumbent school board members Karen Chessell and Teri Jamin both hung onto their seats, while Neal Freitas defeated John Louritt for the seat being vacated by Randy Green.

East Fork Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins defeated challenger Wayne Fazzino 12,474 votes to 6,113, clinching a six-year term on the bench.

East Fork Swimming Pool District incumbent Gordon Gray survived the election. Janine Petrick-Sullivan and Alisa Ashbaugh won seats on the five-member board.

Indian Hills residents Chris Johnson and Ronald Lynch won terms on the general improvement district board.

Gardnerville residents Lloyd Higuera and Mary Wenner will serve on the town board. Minden Town Board members Steven Thaler and John Stephans will return for another four-year term.

Former county commissioners Bob Allgeier and Barbara Smallwood will serve on the Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District.

Final results were released by Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Ted Thran at 9:36 p.m. First results were not released until 8:30 p.m. when Washoe and Clark counties finally closed their polls.

“I was surprised at how fast the polls closed here and how fast the poll workers got their cartridges in,” he said.

The 91.5 percent turnout was not enough to break the record turnout set in 2008, but it came within a percentage point.