The November general election ballot for Mesquite City Council was set Tuesday, June 12 when the results of the primary election narrowed the list of candidates in races for two of three seats on the dais.
Annie Black, a newcomer to Mesquite politics, received a whopping 47.44 percent, a total of 1,669 of the 3,518 of the votes cast for Seat 4 on the council. Karen Fielding, also running for elected office the first time, received 948 votes for a distant 26.95 percent. Chuck Kruder came in third in the field of three with 901 votes, representing 25.61 percent.
In the race for council Seat 1, incumbent Geno Withelder narrowly took first place with 1,279 votes, 36.72 percent, of the 3,483 votes cast in that race. He will face second place winner Sandra Ramaker who received 1,258 votes representing 36.12 percent of the total votes cast. Kay Mercer, running in her first political race, took third place with 946 votes, 27.16 percent.
The November ballot will have Withelder running against Ramaker for Seat 1, Black facing off against Fielding for Seat 4, and George Gault running against incumbent David Ballweg for Seat 3.
This year marks the first Mesquite City Council election in which candidates had to declare for a particular seat rather than running at large. Seat numbers do not limit the geographic area of representation like ward numbers do. Rather, it limits the candidates to running against another individual rather than a whole group. All seats carry a four-year term that expires in 2022.
In the race for Mesquite Township Constable, long-time incumbent Duane Thurston narrowly beat newcomer Shawn Hughes with 51.01 percent of the vote, representing 834 votes. Hughes took 48.99 percent with 801 votes. Because Thurston won 50 percent plus one vote, he will remain in office.
Incumbent Mesquite Justice of the Peace Ryan Toone was unopposed in his race and will also remain in office for another four-year term.
Two Mesquite representative seats on the Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) Board of Directors will appear on the general election ballot in November even though the race didn’t appear on the primary ballot.
Current board member Ben Davis, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board when Robert “Bubba” Smith resigned in June 2016, is running for a four-year term. Two newcomers are also running for the vacant seats– John Burrows and Jere Walker.
In the Congressional District 4 race, Democrat Steven Horsford will once again face Republican Cresent Hardy in November. Hardy beat Horsford in 2014 but lost to incumbent Ruben Kihuen in 2016.
In the statewide senate race, incumbent Republican Dean Heller will face Democrat Jacky Rosen in November.
Withelder was first elected to the council in 2009. He was re-elected in 2013. If he wins the seat again, it will be his last term.
Ramaker was first elected to the Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors in 2010. She was re-elected to a two-year term in 2014. She was defeated in her re-election effort when she ran again in 2016. Ramaker also ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2013.
Fielding is a local real estate agent and was active in the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce in past years. Black is also a real estate agent in Mesquite and is president of the Mesquite Republican Women.
Ballweg was first elected to a two-year term in 2016. He serves on the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
While Gault has not run for political office before, he has been very active in the local community. He and Ballweg were two of three founders of the Mesquite Regional Business economic development organization. Gault also helped found Mesquite Works and Mesquite Opportunity Regional Fund.