INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Democrat Kristen Spees emerged Tuesday as the winner in her party’s 2nd District primary and will face Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei in the November general election.
Spees, 27, an attorney from Incline Village, topped a field of four candidates Tuesday, including Reno physician Vance Alm, Gardnerville store clerk Brian Dempsey and Reno engineer Ed Lee.
Spees said her hard work of “being out in the street and meeting voters” rather than hanging around capitol headquarters paid off.
“I’m out there meeting people of all different walks of life — my goal is to really meet with the people and the masses to learn what they’re talking about,” she said Wednesday.
Spees, an Incline High graduate and a former member of the school’s We The People AP government class, said she’s gotten a lot of support from the community.
Considering she could become the youngest woman to ever be elected to the seat, Spees said she plans to work with young residents in Nevada and encourage them to vote.
“The youth voting movement in Nevada hasn’t rally taken off … I’d like to change that,” she said.
Amodei had no primary challenger in the district, which covers the northern part of Nevada and has never elected a Democrat. The district is 43 percent Republican, 33 percent Democratic and 17 percent registered nonpartisan.
In Washoe County, Spees received 5,682 votes, good for 39.28 percent, according to unofficial results. Dempsey finished second with 4,409 votes (30.48 percent).
KIECKHEFER MOVES ON
Despite early reports Gary Schmidt was slightly ahead of incumbent state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer in Carson City and close in the south Reno-capital district 16, Kieckhefer won in a walk Tuesday night, collecting double the number of votes cast for Schmidt.
Schmidt made a long list of charges that Kieckhefer was a RINO — Republican in Name Only — even accusing him of endorsing Sen. Harry Reid over Sharron Angle.
Schmidt’s tactics didn’t work, and Kieckhefer easily took the race. According to unofficial results from Washoe County, Kieckhefer earned 4,970 votes, good for 68.04 percent. Schmidt got 2,334 votes.
The state senate 16th district includes Incline Village.
Kieckhefer now moves on to face Democrat Michael Kelley and Independent American John Everhart in the November General Election. But he does so in a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat in recent memory.
Kieckhefer credited Republicans in the district for turning out at a rate he said was nearly 45 percent in a year when pundits said it would be much lower.
“I’m surprised, happy clearly,” Kieckhefer said of his victory margin. “One of the things I tried to talk to people about was being a good legislator and being able to get things done and I think I’ve proven that in my first term. I’m looking forward to having an even stronger voice in the process.”
If Republicans take control of the state Senate, Kieckhefer is the leading contender to chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
KIRNER, KRASNER TO SQUARE OFF
Also of local interest, incumbent Republican Randy Kirner earned the most votes in the GOP primary for his Assembly District 26 seat, which covers Incline Village.
Kirner’s 2,546 votes were good for 42.02 percent of the Washoe County vote. Lisa Krasner finished second with 2,029 votes, while Robb Archie was third.
Kirner and Krasner, both Republicans, will square off in the November general election.
There is no IAP or Democrat registered to run in District 26; if Kirner had received more than 50 percent of the vote, he would have won re-election and not have to run in the general.
Elsewhere in Nevada, incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval easily won the GOP primary Tuesday, earning more than 90 percent of the state’s votes. In Washoe County, he received 91.27 percent.
He will square off in November against Robert Goodman, who won 25 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.
Goodman earns the bid despite Nevada voters choosing “None of these candidates” at 30 percent. According to state law, Goodman is the nominee because, “Only votes cast for the named candidates shall be counted in determining nomination or election to any statewide office or presidential nominations or the selection of presidential electors.”
Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau Reporter Geoff Dornan contributed to this report.