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Brekhus retains council seat in historic election

By Bob Conrad
Published: Last Updated on
Reno City Council member Jenny Brekhus

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Washoe County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula today said the 2020 general election in Washoe County had a record turnout — 83% of eligible voters voted. Voter registration was slightly tipped toward Republicans over Democrats — as This Is Reno reported in March — but nonpartisan or other parties represented a growing segment of voters.

There were 108,586 Republican voters; Democrats numbered 107,807; and nonpartisan, or minor party voters, amounted to more than 87,000 registered voters.

“Nonpartisan and minor party voters definitely have been increasing in Washoe County,” Spikula said.

Mail-in ballots were the preferred method of voting, Spikula said. There were fewer than 25,000 ballots cast in person on Election Day. She said there were no unexplained errors with ballots.

A few people online, however, said that their votes were never counted.

“They can call the registrar’s office,” said county spokesperson Bethany Drysdale. “If they’re looking online or on Ballottrax, it won’t say ‘counted’ until after today’s certification, and then [it] could still take a few days to show that change in status.”

Brekhus retains seat

Early tallies showed clear winners in most races, but the Reno City Council Ward 1 race between incumbent Jenny Brekhus and challenger JD Drakulich was too close to call — until today.

Counts between the two differed by about 100 votes or fewer since Election Day. Today’s canvass officially made Brekhus the winner. She prevailed with 82 votes, according to the final count on the registrar of voters website.

“I’m very happy and grateful to the Ward 1 voters who returned me back to the council seat,” she told This Is Reno, while also thanking her family and supporters. “Grassroots campaigns take a lot of hands coming in from a lot of different aspects, and that’s what it takes when you go up against established interests that bring a lot of financial resources that go against you.”

This will be Brekhus’ third and final term as a city council member.

Biden secures win in Washoe County

Despite Republicans outnumbering Democrats in Washoe County, the county sided with Joe Biden for U.S. President. Biden held a lead in the county with more than 12,000 votes, and his lead statewide secured all of the state’s electoral votes for the Democrat.

President Donald Trump claimed, without evidence, that he won the election and said he would not concede.

Commissioner Jeanne Herman voted against the canvass of the vote, without explanation. All other commissioners voted yes to approve the canvass of votes today.

Today’s special meeting of the Washoe County Commission

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