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Slate of newcomers enter local political races

By Bob Conrad
Published: Last Updated on

From the Reno City Council to the local school board, numerous newcomers have signed on to challenge incumbents in local political races.

The mayoral race is stacked with 11 candidates. Mayor Hillary Schieve, who previously told This Is Reno she would not seek re-election, is facing fellow Reno City Council member Jenny Brekhus along with nine others seeking to unseat her.

Eddie Lorton holds a campaign sign near the Washoe County Registrar of Voters office on June 10, 2020 during the primary election.
Eddie Lorton holds a campaign sign near the Washoe County Registrar of Voters office on June 10, 2020 during the primary election. Image: Trevor Bexon / This Is Reno

Perennial candidate Eddie Lorton, who has failed to win a single race, also said he would not run again this year but added his name to run against Schieve. 

Chad Dehne – son of Sam Dehne, local city critic, gadfly and serial public commenter/performer – is running. His website is also his dad’s, which boasts “1,000s of Sam DNA Dehne Youtubes in 1 Place (click).”

Challenger William Mantle, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2018, said city leadership since then has failed the community.

“Our leaders have failed our city. I will fight for affordability, hamstring greed, and diversify our housing options,” his website indicates.

Mayoral candidate Judi Rought, an accountant, said she wants to see more affordable housing.

“Along with all of the rapid growth, there has been a lot of housing inflation that has created hardships for a number of Renoites,” her website shows.

Newcomer Tabitha Schneider’s website says Reno needs “a representative that will support your ideas, fight for the needs of your community and earn your respect.” 

Other candidates did not provide profile information to the registrar.

City Council

A number of people have filed to challenge incumbents Bonnie Weber and Naomi Duerr. 

Tyler Hinman and Jay Kenny both signed up to unseat Duerr. Hinman did not list a website with the registrar’s office, but Kenny said on his campaign website he believes somebody with business experience is needed to serve Ward 2. 

“Ward 2 deserves someone with a fresh perspective, someone who can solve problems by bringing people together, and a business owner, like Jay, who understands what it takes to get the economy moving forward,” his site notes. 

Kenny operates three local Doughboys Donut shops.

Reno City Council member Naomi Duerr during a meeting on affordable housing Feb. 22, 2022 in Reno, Nev. Image: Ty O’Neil / This Is Reno

Duerr, online, touts what she said was healthy City of Reno finances, tackling homelessness and advancing smart growth as part of her reelection platform. 

“We continue to pay down our debt, which is now lower by about $180 million in bond debt since the high in 2009. We reduced employee-related liabilities by another $40 million during my term by renegotiating labor contracts,” her website notes.

Weber is being challenged by Meghan Ebery and Dennis Owner, neither of whom filled out profiles on the county’s website. 

Weber said she has “proven leadership delivering results for the community.”

School Board

A group claiming to want to save the Washoe County School District has listed a slate of candidates for school board trustee seats. 

The group claims to be nonpartisan, but some of those are the same people who have derailed public comment during school board and Washoe County commission meetings alleging various voter fraud conspiracies and false claims about WCSD curricula.

Both Ellen Minetto and Joe Rodriguez, pictured at the WCSD Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 25, 2022, are up for election, along with trustees Beth Smith and Adam Mayberry. Image: Ty O’Neil / This Is Reno

Trustee incumbents up for election are Beth Smith, Joe Rodriguez and Adam Mayberry, each of whom was selected to serve on the board after a rash of vacancies last year.

Incumbent Ellen Minetto is being challenged by Cathy Reyes and Colleen Westlake, while Smith and Mayberry both face a handful of challengers. One, who is challenging Mayberry’s seat, is Brooke Westlake, former spouse of former Trustee Scott Kelley. 

“The WCSD has gone through an intense decade of public shaming, continued issues that include funding, superintendent struggles [and] board member issues,” she said.

County Commission

Three Washoe Board of County Commissioners seats are up for grabs, and two of those have incumbents seeking to maintain the titles.

Incumbent Bob Lucey is being challenged by a Democrat, Libertarian and Republican, and current county Assessor, Mike Clark, who last year was banished from the Washoe County administrative buildings for sexual harassment and stalking charges

Clark illegally sent dozens of anonymously authored screeds to hundreds of people. The documents alleged Lucey was having an affair and various claims of scandalous coverups at the county.

But a judge called Clark’s pseudo-anonymous mailings of more than 150 packages to various officials and news media “altogether creepy and disturbing.”

The two other candidates, David Banuelos and Keith Lockard, did not provide profile information to the county.

Commissioner Kitty Jung’s seat, which is open as she is termed out, has three Democrats and two Republicans vying to be the next commissioner for District 3.

Washoe County Commissioners Jeanne Herman and Bob Lucey, on left, are both running for re-election. Commissioner Kitty Jung, far right, is termed out.
Washoe County Commissioners Jeanne Herman and Bob Lucey, on left, are both running for re-election. Commissioner Kitty Jung, far right, is termed out. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

The Democrats are Hawah Ahmad, Mariluz Garcia and Kyle Isacksen. Isacksen online says he is a teacher, builder and family man. 

“I care deeply about our environment, about working class issues and our quality of life, and about how Washoe County will grow into the future,” he said.

Ahmad said she has devoted her life to the community.

“As a born and bred Washoe County resident and child of immigrants, I haven’t had the luxury of sitting on the sidelines when it came to our county,” her website notes. “I have always been involved, whether it was volunteering with local nonprofits, sitting on Washoe County boards, or working for community initiatives that advocate for children, I have devoted my life to this county and to this community.”

Cruz said she “is running for office because families and businesses in District 3 need someone with her background to lead them. District 3 is the most diverse in Washoe County and, as such, has been the hardest hit by the pandemic over the past two years.”

Republicans George Lee and Denise Myer are also running for Jung’s seat. Neither had complete profile information on the registrar’s website. 

Commissioner Jeanne Herman is facing four challengers – Democrat and Edwin Lyngar, non-partisan Krysta Jackson and Republicans Wendy Leonard and Richard Molezzo. A Democrat, Jole Rector, signed on to Challenge Herman but since filing has removed herself from the race. Rector subsequently endorsed Lyngar.

Molezzo, a local trial attorney, touts “voting as a Citizen in a Republic” as part of his reason for seeking the position as well as his background of running for class president in the eighth grade – and losing – as part of his government background.

Jackson describes herself as “self-employed as a small confections manufacturer.” She runs Sugar Love Chocolates. Lyngar said he is running to challenge Herman “in part because the current incumbent is spreading lies to push needless, divisive and stupid voter suppression measures.”

Leonard also blasted Herman’s recently shot down, so-called “voter integrity” initiative, calling parts of it absurd.

“When you take an extreme stance on any proposal, what that says is that you don’t have the ability to work with others and hear other opinions and other potential resolutions to get something solved,” she told This Is Reno earlier this month.

UPDATE: This story was updated to note Rector dropped out of the race.

Election 2022

This Is Reno is focused on the mayoral, city and county races for the 2022 election.

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