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NLV mayor defeated soundly in election otherwise dominated by incumbents

Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 11:40 p.m.

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North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee

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North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck at City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011.

The results are in and little has changed following Tuesday’s municipal primary elections — except for one city.

North Las Vegas has a new mayor.

Former state Sen. John Lee earned 53.6 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Mayor Shari Buck outright, and bypass the general election. Buck received 35.5 percent of the vote. Any candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote bypasses the general election and wins the seat.

A request for comment from Lee was not immediately returned. Buck, who has been mayor for four years and city councilwoman for nine years, wished Lee well as he steps in to fill her role.

“I’m happy about the progress the city has made in the last couple of years,” Buck said. “I know we have a bright future ahead, and I wish Mr. Lee well as he steps into office.”

Still, she isn’t sure what her next step will be after her term ends on July 1. Despite the defeat she said she wouldn’t stop helping the city any way she can as a resident.

“I, still, as a citizen will speak proudly of North Las Vegas, and do all I can to talk to businesses and still move here and all those things,” Buck said. “I don’t have any regrets.”

There were few surprises in the valley’s other primary races. Henderson re-elected Mayor Andy Hafen with nearly 55 percent of the vote, defeating six other candidates. Henderson Councilman John Marz also retained his seat in the 3rd Ward.

In Las Vegas, incumbents Bob Beers, Stavros Anthony and Steve Ross won their respective city council races outright. Ross’ camp, however, was not without drama. The councilman was hospitalized during the middle of the election.

Matt Lydon, Ross’ campaign manager, said that he was taken to the hospital at the urging of his wife. While Ross is feeling better, he was held overnight as a precaution. He is expected to return to his duties after a couple of days off, Lydon said.

North Las Vegas Councilwoman Anita Wood retained her seat in the 3rd Ward, while Isaac Barron and Jared Hardy will challenge each other in the general election.

Once again poor voter turnout marred the municipal primary election. Slightly more than 11 percent of registered voters cast a ballot for the primary races across Clark County. Only 12.4 percent of registered voters turned out in Henderson, and 10.4 percent in North Las Vegas.

The overall turnout marked a 7 percent decrease from the 2011 municipal primary.

Still, Lee was able to receive the majority of votes from the few voters who turned out. Lee ran on a platform that promised to give the city’s image a complete makeover and promised to bring in new business.

Starting July 1, he must put those words into action. He takes on the challenge of revitalizing a city ravished by foreclosures, and one year removed from a state of emergency to close a budget gap exceeding $30 million.

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