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September 19, 2014

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County commission candidates move forward amid budget crunch

Primary results

Two Democratic candidates for County Commission District G with high name recognition and long tenures in local and state politics went nose to nose Tuesday, with Mary Beth Scow narrowly defeating David Parks for the right to face Republican Doug Bell, a retired county employee who didn't face a primary challenger.

The winner in November will take the seat currently held by Rory Reid, a Democratic candidate for governor who will face Republican Brian Sandoval, winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary.

Though five Democrats tried to replace Reid, it became a race between Scow, who lost her seat on the Clark County School Board because of term limits, and David Parks, a member of the state Assembly from 1996 through 2008, then elected senator in 2008.

For County Commission District F, Republican Mitchell T. Tracy, who calls himself a Tea Party supporter and a Reagan conservative, narrowly defeated Billy D. Johnson for the right to face Commissioner Susan Brager, a Democrat, and Jeff “Sarge” Durbin of the Independent American Party in the general election.

Tracy, a 46-year-old insurance claims adjuster, has faced Brager before, losing to her in 2002 in a race for a school board seat.

Winners will take a seat on a board that foresees no immediate end to unprecedented budget problems exacerbated by state maneuvers that stripped the county.

That loss occurred around the same time the county began to see sharp declines in property and sales tax revenues. To balance its budget this year, Clark County has mostly emptied its own reserves and capital funds to create a balanced budget.

With the option of cash reserves mostly gone, the months and years ahead look even bleaker as tax revenues aren’t projected to increase. Though the county announced a little more than 100 layoffs in the midst of Tuesday’s election, commissioners could make decisions that will cost even more jobs, perhaps hundreds, over the next 12 months. When the new commission takes their seats in 2011, they may look back on 2010 as a cakewalk by comparison.

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