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Steve Ross easily retains Ward 6 seat in special recall election

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Christopher DeVargas

Councilman Steve Ross hugs his wife Kelli after receiving the official news that he has achieved a victory in the recall election, Tues. Jan. 31, 2012.

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 | 9:58 p.m.

Councilman Ross: Recall Election

Councilman Steve Ross celebrates a victory with friends and family as the official recall election results come in, Tues. Jan. 31, 2012. Launch slideshow »
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Byron Goynes

Incumbent Steve Ross has won in a "blowout," 70 percent to 30 percent, in the special recall election for his Ward 6 seat on the Las Vegas City Council.

With 100 percent of the vote in about 8:13 p.m., Ross beat his challenger, city planning commissioner Byron Goynes, 4,319 to 1,845 votes.

The unofficial results showed a 12.47 percent turnout in the race for the Ward 6 (see map) seat, out of 49,437 voters. The results from today's election will be certified by the Las Vegas City Council on Feb. 6.

The election was forced by Committee to Recall Steve Ross, which has been pushed by Joe Scala, a car dealer who was denied a waiver to continue operating a dealership in Centennial Hills, which is in Ross’ ward.

“It’s a blowout. It’s an absolute blowout. It says volumes that voters in Ward 6 are not tolerating this kind of behavior from a guy trying to buy a city council seat,” Ross said shortly after the votes were in.

Ballots feature the names of both Ross, who was last elected in 2009, and Goynes, who is a longtime member of the Las Vegas Planning Commission.

Goynes said later in the evening that, despite the loss, "I’m not sad at all. I think I did very well for a three-week period."

Goynes said he was "very ecstatic" about his ability to put a team together that quickly to get out and get the signatures needed to qualify to get on the ballot.

"That just motivated me to get ready. But tonight the voters made their decision that Steve Ross should finish out his term and stand for re-election in 2013," Goynes said.

Goynes said he was an independent candidate and was not recruited by Scala, but was asked to run by homeowner association leaders in the ward. Ross insisted Goynes was Scala's candidate.

Goynes said he didn't think that Ross ran the race against him personally.

"He ran it against Joe Scala. He ran it against the Toss Ross people," Goynes said. "He didn't really run against me. And so in 2013 there will be no Joe Scala to hide behind and divert attention to. And he'll have to come out and address the issues."

Goynes said he was strongly considering running against Ross in 2013. Goynes ran for the same seat in 2005 and finished in third place.

This is Ross' third win of the Ward 6 seat. Ross won a second four-year term to represent Ward 6 in 2009 with 54.8 percent of the vote against his challenger, attorney Jennifer Taylor.

Ross ran for mayor earlier this year, but after finishing in fifth place in the primary, he endorsed Carolyn Goodman, who won the seat.

In his victory, Ross, who was at his home with supporters, was obviously upset that the recall was forced on him by Scala's efforts.

"This cost taxpayers $50,000, for crying out loud. What a waste of time and money," Ross said. "I said it all along: The voters in Ward 6 were misled and lied to. The numbers speak for themselves in regards to the voters recognizing what’s going on and not tolerating it. They’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior and let somebody abuse the election system."

However, Ross said any change in election laws that allow recalls would have to come from the Nevada Legislature.

Goynes disagreed with Ross that the election was a waste of money. He pointed out that 1,084 registered voters were required to call the election.

"These are laws that are in the constitution and people utilize them. So, no I don't think it was a waste of taxpayers' money. It was taxpayers who dictated what happened to their own money," Goynes said.

"They're the ones who initiated the recall. They knew there was a cost associated. And it's their money. And that's why we live in America, a great place like this where we have these systems."

Ross said he attributed his success to his record and to his work on the council.

“Folks out here in Ward 6 know what I’ve been doing for them,” he said.

Ross said when he was first elected in 2005, he made a commitment to make public safety his No. 1 priority, jobs his No. 2 priority and helping small businesses by cutting red tape at city hall his No. 3 priority.

“And now I’m holding banks accountable for this foreclosure crisis that we’re in,” he said. “I’ve done everything I’ve told the voters I was going to do. And I’m going to do more, now that I’m still in office.”

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