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Steninger wins in primary
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Steninger wins in primary

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ELKO – Rex Steninger is on his way to a second term as Elko County Commissioner.

Steninger defeated challenger Gary “Radar” Evertsen of South Fork in the primary election 2,063 votes to 672 votes. The results were announced on the Secretary of State’s website Wednesday morning.

Elko County Clerk Kris Jakeman said there are still 1,200 ballots to count before the race is finalized.

“I would like to thank everyone who voted for me. I appreciate the vote of confidence and will continue to do my best to live up to our former title of being the best small town in America,” Steninger said.

Steninger reflected on his political career when he was appointed to replace Commissioner Grant Gerber.

Gerber died after sustaining a fall in a horse-riding accident during the Grass March from the West Coast to Washington, D.C., in December of 2014. Steninger won his first election three years later.

“I became a county commissioner by accident in replacing the late, great Grant Gerber and am a very reluctant politician,” said Steninger, a former Elko Daily Free Press editor and publisher.

The incumbent was endorsed by numerous citizens, including Mayor Reece Keener, District Attorney Tyler Ingram, Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza and Assemblyman John Ellison, along with fellow Commissioners Demar Dahl and Delmo Andreozzi, and volunteer fire chiefs Neil McQueary and Pete Peters. Steninger thanked everyone on Tuesday.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped me in my campaign,” he said. “Fortunately, I have amazing friends who were there to lend their support. I am particularly grateful to those who publicly endorsed me.”

He went on to thank those who re-introduced him to Facebook for the campaign. “I was completely amazed by that audience.”

Steninger also thanked Evans for running a clean campaign.

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“He had the courtesy to call me to let me know his plan to enter the race and ran a clean, quiet campaign,” Steninger said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if all campaigns were that honorable?”

There was no Democratic challenger for the District 5 seat, meaning Steninger will run unopposed in the general election Nov. 3.

The county commissioner’s race was the only one in the local primary election run-off. Two Elko County school board incumbents, Kieth Fish for District 3 and Jim Cooney for District 5, ran unopposed.

Fish received 3,746 votes, Cooney 3,912 votes.

Nevada’s primarily mail-in election was changed in March by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske as a result of state directives enacted to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Early returns were delayed after polling places in the state’s two most populous counties were kept open to allow those waiting in long lines to vote.

In Elko County, polls closed on time Tuesday, with 415 voters dropping off ballots in a voting station set up inside the lobby of the Elko County Annex.

Elko County Clerk Kris Jakeman said she was “pleased with the turnout.

“Although we do not have the total numbers available, voter turnout increased from the previous primary elections,” Jakeman said.

Results will be updated online by 9 a.m from June 11-17 at the County Clerk’s website and on the Secretary of State’s website.

Official statewide primary election results will be announced on June 19.

In the nonpartisan Nevada Supreme Court races, Chief Justice Kristina Pickering was above the 50% needed to defeat attorneys Esther Rodriguez and Thomas Christensen to win another six-year term on the seven-member court.

Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon was leading state lawmaker Ozzie Fumo, but neither reached the 50% level. They might have to vie again in November for the seat held by retiring Justice Mark Gibbons.

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Courts, K-12 schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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