By BRADEN LAMMERS
The field is determined for November’s general election and three Clark County Council At-large seats.
In the Democratic Party primary, one incumbent moved on and another was defeated by nearly 200 votes. Challenger Susan Popp was the leading vote-getter in the Democratic primary with 3,211 votes, or 23.8 percent; incumbent Councilman Kevin Vissing received 2,505 votes, or 18.5 percent; and another challenger, Brenda Ross, received 2,296 votes, or 17 percent to round out the field.
Incumbent Perry Smith came in fourth with 2,103 votes, or 15.6 percent — the final At-large incumbent Councilman Democrat Chuck Moore did not run for re-election — followed by David Abbott, with 2,019 votes, or 15 percent, and Charles King received 1,376 votes, or 10.2 percent.
Popp, 52, has served on the council previously said she will draw on those strengths, as well as her background in the financial sector, to help her heading into November.
“I told them I was a fiscal conservative and I will bring value to their tax dollars,” she said when asked what she told voters. “I think they wanted someone who is very knowledgeable on the issues and would take the time to research them,” she added. “We have vital services that need to be funded.”
Popp said her message going into the general election will not change, but that she wants to be able to reach out to all of the people in the county.
Vissing, 55, said he will rely on his experience heading into the general election.
“I’ve got experience being on the council and the first three or four years is a learning process,” he said. “I’m not someone who just goes out on election year ... I’m out there all the time.”
Vissing said while voters told him that they didn’t like mandates issued for county funds over the past couple of years, he said it was something that was necessary to fund the county’s operations and was open to suggestions on other ways to cover the county’s expenses.
“I’m a tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy,” he said.
But Vissing added that the November election may be different.
“I think there’s a lot of apathy in politics and people just want change,” he said referring to the low voter turnout numbers. “In the fall, you’re going to see a huge change [in those numbers].”
Ross, 46, is a controller for Independent Piping Inc. and said she would use her employment experience if she is elected in November.
“I just think right now in a budget crisis, just like at home, you’ve got to cut back,” she said. “There’s always ways that you can make cuts and still make it work. I do it at work every day. There’s way to cut money at that courthouse without laying people off or raising people’s taxes, which is the last thing anyone needs right now.
“We need a lot of changes in Clark County. We need to look at the needs versus the wants.”
Another change that Ross said she would like to address is the communication and cooperation between the commissioners and the council.
“There needs to be less fighting and more communication,” she said. “You’re going to have to get more out of each other.”
But she added, “I really ran because of the finances of Clark County. That’s what I do for a living.”
The top vote-getter in the six person Republican primary was Kelly Khuri with 3,107 votes, or 23 percent. She was followed by Ronald Brogan, who collected 2,315 votes, or 17.2 percent, and Ryan Lynch, who received 2,365 votes, or 17.5 percent.
Khuri, 53, and a Clark County Tea Party leader, said she is eager to get started in January, but it’s a long way away.
“It’s one step,” she said of Tuesday night’s results. “I’m learning as much as I can every day about the Clark County government system.”
While Khuri said she was encouraged with the primary results, she has no misconceptions about the task ahead.
“I know we’ve got a huge, huge hurdle,” she said. “It’s an encouragement that they want a fresh perspective. I’m tenacious and I don’t give up.”
Khuri added that the voters should also being paying attention, because if she is elected in November, she will be looking to them.
“They need to start paying close attention to what’s going on in their county, because I will be asking for their advice,” she said. “It’s about all of us; it’s not just about me. The people are relying on us to make good educated decisions for them, and that’s just not what we’ve had in the past completely,” she said referring to the council.
Brogan, 65, admitted that he was surprised.
“We’re pretty excited,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to the general election.”
A retired bank president and commercial loan executive, Brogan said being an open-minded, fair person and fiscally conservative helped him move on to the general election.
Heading into November, he said his goal will be to meet the budget.
“[We need to] get a straight course of action and stick to it,” he said, referring to the county budget. “I think being fiscally responsible is the main message ... people are looking for a future, not short-term answers.
Lynch, 23, is the third Republican candidate that will move on to the November general election. A machine operator with Accent Marketing, he said a lot of door-to-door campaigning and being honest with everyone helped him win the primary election.
“I told them I wanted to work on relationships within the county,” he said.
Lynch cited a lack of communication between the county council, the commissioners and the county office-holders as a problem that needs to be addressed. He said he would also like to tackle spending in the county.
“A lot of people feel the county does have wasteful spending,” he said. “They wonder what they spend money on.”
He reiterated that he’d like to have the county’s expenses available on its website.
Heading into November, Lynch said he plans to spend less money on his campaign and spend more time knocking on doors.
“I want to hear from the community,” he said.
Chuck Latham came in fourth by a narrow margin in the primary election with 2,228 votes, or 16.5 percent. And Mac McIntosh and Adam Hutchinson rounded out the six-person field with 1,751 votes, or 13 percent, and 1,722 votes, or 12.8 percent, respectively.