Mesquite voters defied the age-old axiom that incumbents have the edge when they elected three new members to the Mesquite City Council and let go of two sitting members on the dais.
With a hundred percent of the vote in, Sandra Ramaker, George Gault, and Annie Black were elected to four-year terms on the council.
Ramaker received 57.29 percent of the total votes cast for council seat #1 with 4,061 votes, beating out incumbent Geno Withelder who received 42.71 percent with 3,028 votes.
Gault beat incumbent council member David Ballweg in the council seat #3 race. Gault received 56.16 percent with 3,932 votes to Ballweg’s 43.84 percent with 3,070 votes.
Black won a much closer race against Karen Fielding for council seat #4 taking 51.97 percent with 3,792 votes. Fielding received 48.03 percent with 3,505 votes.
Gault said of his very-first election victory, “I am very pleased and honored and so appreciative to everyone who helped with their ideas, time, money. All the support was just great. It’s not anything I did by myself. I’m looking forward to working with the other council people and see how we can come together on ideas and priorities to get things moving.”
My first priority is to continue work on workforce housing and actually get something on the ground. It’s only going to get worse and continue being a barrier to bringing more businesses in. We need to find ways to incentive builders and get something going. You can’t just snap your fingers and have something finished overnight. We need to continue diversifying our tax base and our economy.”
The Ramaker win was a turnaround from the June primary election when Withelder beat her by 21 votes in a three-way race that also included Kay Mercer. Black came in first in the primary election taking 1,669 votes to Fielding’s 948 votes. Charles Kruder came in third in that race with 901 votes.
Since only two people filed for seat #3, Ballweg and Gault, they did not appear on the primary ballot.
This year marked 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.
Had the same process been used this year as has been in all previous elections when candidates ran at-large and the top three vote-getters took a seat on the dais, the outcome wouldn’t have been much different. Ramaker won the most votes (4,061), Gault would have been second (3,932), and Black would have come in third (3,792). Fielding would have been fourth (3,505), Ballweg would have come in fifth (3,070) and Withelder would have been last (2,934).
In the race for two seats on the Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors, sitting member Ben Davis took first place with 3,086 votes and John Burrows won 2,863 votes. The third competitor, Jere Walker, received 2,744 votes. Both Davis and Burrows will hold a four-year term expiring in 2022.
In the race for Bunkerville Justice of the Peace, incumbent Darryll Dodenbier received 56.85 percent with 232 votes beating Brian Haviland’s 43.14 percent with 176 votes.