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Beadles-backed candidates come up short in Washoe down-ballot primary races

Three candidates who received Beadles' support while vying for county and city seats made it past the primary, but others lost.
Carly Sauvageau
Carly Sauvageau
Election 2024Local GovernmentNorthern Nevada

June 11 proved to be a rough night for Robert Beadles, a prominent Republican donor and election conspiracy theorist who formally endorsed 12 candidates for local races in Washoe County and supported others. Only three made it to the general.

Beadles did not respond to a request for comment.

Washoe County Commissioner Clara Andriola defeated opponents Mark Lawson and Tracey Hilton-Thomas — who both received endorsements but no funds from Beadles — in the crowded Republican primary. Marsha Berkbigler — who served two terms on the commission before she was defeated by now-Commission Chair Alexis Hill in 2020 — will face Hill in November in a rematch for the District 1 seat. Berkbigler has financial ties to Beadles but said she does not share his belief that the 2020 election was stolen. 

Meanwhile, Reno Councilmen Devon Reese and Miguel Martinez advanced past the primary to the general election. A political action committee affiliated with Beadles, who supported Reese’s opponent Brian Cassidy, sent out mailers during the primary depicting Reese as a drag queen. Martinez will challenge Denise Myer, who also has ties to Beadles, in November.

Beadles’ blog Operation Sunlight also called Andriola “Clara the Clown” and Washoe County School Board Trustee Beth Smith “Death Smith” after her battle with cancer. 

In Sparks, longtime Councilman Donald Abbott defeated Beadles-endorsed candidate Chris Garvey with more than 50 percent of the votes during the primary to retain his Ward 1 seat for a third and final term. The two other Sparks incumbents, Paul Anderson and Kristopher Dahir, will face challengers Brad Fitch and Joe Rodriguez in the general election. 

Here’s a look at how Tuesday’s primaries turned out for the Washoe County Commission, Reno and Sparks city councils and other local governments in Northern Nevada.

Washoe County Commissioner Mike Clark, a Republican, drops off his ballot at the Washoe County Complex on primary Election Day, June 11, 2024. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

Andriola’s win in District 4 and why it matters

An endorsement from Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo proved more valuable to candidates than support from Beadles in Northern Nevada, at least for Washoe County Commissioner Clara Andriola, who was also appointed by the governor in 2023. 

During her primary election campaign, Andriola — a former director of the Reno Rodeo Foundation who received nearly 44 percent of the vote as of Thursday — faced a primary field of four other Republicans. This group included Mark Lawson — a former City of Sparks fire chief who was publicly let go when the city council learned about four felony drug charges against him — who received almost a quarter of the votes. The drug charges were later dismissed, and he recently received a $381,000 settlement from the City of Sparks for wrongful termination. 

Another District 4 candidate, Tracey Hilton-Thomas, received almost 21 percent of the vote. She describes herself as having expertise in election work and a long history working for Washoe County, although her employment history is in tech for the county.

Both Lawson — who was the second-highest vote-getter in the primary — and Hilton-Thomas — who came in third — received endorsements but no funds from Beadles, and both lost to Andriola, who was appointed to the commission by Lombardo last year and featured the governor’s endorsement in a TV ad campaign.

Republican Washoe County Commissioner Clara Andriola campaigns in Sparks on Election Day on June 11, 2024. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

“The election is validation that Washoe County voters care about policy not politics,” Andriola said about the election results. “I'm so grateful for the chance to continue serving District 4 — and all of Washoe County.”

Andriola will face two non-major party candidates in the general election.

Commissioners Mike Clark and Jeanne Herman both have connections to Beadles and the two are known for voting together on the five-person board on high-profile issues. Though a majority of the votes on the Washoe County Commission are unanimous, Andriola is sometimes a swing vote on the Republican-majority commission — a fact that the Washoe GOP cited in kicking her out of the party. Beadles is on the executive board of the county party. 

The morning after the primary, Beadles published a blog post thanking “all the candidates who put themselves out there for us” and casting doubt on the election results by criticizing the lack of voter ID.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Alexis Hill, the only Democrat running for the Washoe County Commission this election, will face Marsha Berkbigler in the general election. Berkbigler won the Republican primary for the District 1 race with 51 percent of the vote.

Berkbigler is the only candidate this election cycle who has received direct financial support from Beadles, but said she does not support his views on election denial. Hill and Berkbigler also faced each other in the 2020 election, with Hill beating Berkbigler by about 10 percentage points.

Two Reno city councilmen will face Beadles-backed candidates in the fall

Reno City Council had four seats open this election for Ward 1, 3, 5 and the newly created Ward 6. Unlike the county commission, seats on the city council are nonpartisan. None of the candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote, but even if they did the City of Reno does not count a majority of the vote in the primary as an outright win. 

Councilman Miguel Martinez received a majority of votes in the Ward 3 primary with 48 percent of the vote as of Thursday, with the second highest number of votes (22 percent) going to Denise Myer. 

Myer — whom Beadles supported in the 2022 election — ran an unsuccessful county commission campaign against Mariluz Garcia in the 2022 election but continued to question Garcia’s residency in communications to the county district attorney despite the office saying the claim was false. 

Councilman Devon Reese — an attorney who has been the at-large member of the Reno City Council since his appointment in 2019 — received almost 38 percent of the vote in his bid for Ward 6. His likely opponent in the general election, Brian Cassidy — another Beadles-endorsed candidate — received 27 percent of the vote. Reese represents an at-large ward that is being eliminated this election cycle.

Leading up to the primary election, one of Beadles’ political action committees sent out mailers depicting Reese as a drag queen. Reese later posted the mailer on X with links to donate and volunteer for Reese’s campaign.

In Ward 1, Councilwoman Kathleen Taylor — who represents Ward 5 but had her address change wards after redistricting — received 30 percent of the vote and will either face former Washoe County Library Board Chair Frank Perez, who received nearly 24 percent of the vote as of Thursday morning. Lily Baran, a housing activist and former American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist, is in third place as of Thursday morning with just over 50 votes separating her and Perez

In the newly created Ward 6, Brandi Anderson, a marketing professional who owns a consulting firm, received far more votes than her competitors. Anderson received nearly 44 percent of the vote, while the runner-up Tom Heck, who has experience in logistics management and ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2022, received 14 percent of the vote. 

Reno City Councilman Devon Reese at City Hall on February 15, 2019. (David Calvert / The Nevada Independent)

Other Northern Nevada local government races


Incumbent Donald Abbott defeated Beadles-endorsed candidate Chris Garvey to retain his Ward 1 seat for a third and final term on Tuesday night. Abbott was the youngest-ever member of the Sparks City Council when he was elected in 2016. He works in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning business.

This is Garvey’s second unsuccessful campaign for the Sparks City Council. Mayor Ed Lawson beat Garvey for the mayoral seat in 2022. Before returning to Northern Nevada, Garvey served on the Clark County School Board from 2008 to 2021 but has family in Sparks.

Ward 3 Councilman Paul Anderson was the only incumbent to not receive the highest number of votes in his race on Tuesday. While Anderson received 31 percent of the vote, the highest vote-getter was Brad Fitch, who received nearly 45 percent of the vote. Fitch works in communications for the global aerospace and technology company Sierra Nevada Corporation.  Anderson and Fitch will face off in November.

Incumbent Kristopher Dahir received 47 percent of the vote, just 6 percentage points ahead of runner-up, Washoe County School Board Trustee Joe Rodriguez, in the Ward 5 race.

Dahir and Rodriguez will face off in November.

Carson City

Carson City Mayor Lori Bagwell — who has held the seat since 2021 — received 45 percent of the vote in a five-way primary. Jim Shirk, a veteran who has run unsuccessfully for Carson City Board of Supervisors, received nearly 33 percent of the vote. 

The two candidates will face each other in the general election.


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