Jim Clark
Special to the Bonanza

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January 8, 2013
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Jim Clark: In Incline, we are how we vote

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - There's an old saying: "We are what we eat." Politically speaking, I prefer something like: "We are how we vote." In its last issue, the Bonanza had a front page story reporting the outcome of the 2012 election in just the Incline/Crystal Bay precincts. Had Romney done as well nationally he would be preparing for his inauguration right now, but then, as the story reports, North Tahoe voters tilt to the GOP.

Actual registration figures in our community as of the cut off last fall were: 7,270 total registered voters; GOP - 3,189 (44 percent), Dem. 2,140 (30 percent), Non partisan - 1,305 (18 percent), Independent American - 366 (5 percent), Libertarian - 92 (1+ percent) and Green - 74 (1 percent). And, the Bonanza reported, a great majority (76.2 percent) of Incline/Crystal Bay voters cast early or absentee ballots. Only 24 percent voted on Election Day.

Incidentally, Independent American Party voters are the third largest political party registration in our community (and the IAP the third largest political party in Nevada). It is affiliated with the Constitution Party and its platform looks like it might be the Tea Party on steroids with socially ultra conservative planks thrown in for good measure. Note that there is no "independent" registration in Nevada. Some unaligned voters of whom I am aware sought to register as "independent" (instead of "non-partisan") and ended up in the IAP because the registrar misunderstood their intent.

So what is our collective political personality? Are there conservative and/or liberal "spikes" in our community? As this paper reported Romney prevailed locally besting Obama 3,032 votes (less than all registered Republicans) to 2,375 (more than all registered Democrats). 64 locals voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 36 voted for "none of these candidates". The only precinct with a majority for Obama (251 votes to 239) was #8105 (between Hwy 431 and Country Club generally surrounding the old Sierra Nevada College "Mountain" campus). Romney's strongest precinct (280 votes to 167) was #8104 (Lakeshore to about McCourry, west of Mays/Northwood).

The other crucial national race was for US Senate in which Incline/Crystal Bay voters provided some interesting contrasts with the presidential race. Dean Heller outpolled Shelley Berkley 3,140 (more than Romney) to 1,933 (less than Obama). Libertarian candidate Gary VanderBeek drew 186 votes and "none of these candidates" polled a whopping 236 votes or just under 5 percent of the total. Berkley did not win in any Incline/Crystal Bay precinct. Closest to a Berkley win (217 Berkley, 235 Heller) was again #8105 and the strongest Heller showing (292 to 131) was also Romney's best, #8104.

Were there any "spikes" in our local, non-partisan races? Since the number of voters varies precinct by precinct the answer depends on a vote total comparison between competing candidates. In the race for IVGID trustee the two Jims, Jim Smith and Jim Hammerel, performed best in precinct #8107, the area surrounding the Championship Golf Course. Not surprising since the two campaigned on similar platforms. Bill Devine did best (as did Obama and Berkley) in precinct #8105.

In the race for North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection Board incumbents Wayne Fischer and Dale Smith easily won reelection. Fischer's best relative showing was in precinct #8106 (Upper Tyner and Apollo neighborhoods) while Smith fared best in #8108 (lower Tyner and part of Crystal Bay). Paul Zahler bested two other challengers for the third open board seat performing best in precinct #8109 (Country Club running east between Hwy 28 and Mount Rose Highway).

So that's a snapshot of our community's political personality as well as that of some of our neighborhoods. Don't make any future plans based on this analysis however because it could all change by the 2014 midterm elections.

- Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates, and has served on the Washoe County and Nevada state GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at tahoesbjc@aol.com.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 8, 2013 10:58AM Published Jan 8, 2013 10:58AM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.