By Jamie Munks / Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cedric Crear bested 10 other candidates in Tuesday’s Las Vegas City Council special election to become the first new Ward 5 representative on the council in more than a decade by earning 627 votes, according to an unofficial tally.
Crear, a Nevada System of Higher Education regent and a Las Vegas planning commissioner, has been a known contender for the Ward 5 seat for a year — he announced his intent to run for a full four-year term in 2019 last spring.
“We ran such a strong campaign,” Crear said Tuesday night as results rolled in. “I’m glad Ward 5 voters saw that I was the best candidate, and they voted that way. I’m humbled they picked me to lead this ward.”
The final vote count posted before Crear boarded a plane in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. He’s put off business obligations for campaigning but had to fly out late Tuesday, he said during an interview at the Doolittle Community Center.
Ricki Barlow resigned the Ward 5 council seat Jan. 22, announcing he would plead guilty to a felony for misusing campaign funds from his 2015 re-election effort. Crear, who Barlow appointed to the city Planning Commission, will serve out the 15 months remaining on Barlow’s term.
Municipal elections typically post paltry turnout, but only 6 percent of Ward 5 registered voters turned out, casting 2,320 votes. That’s less than half the ballots cast in the 2012 Ward 2 contest, the last Las Vegas special election.
Former Assemblyman Harvey Munford and Shondra Summers-Armstrong each drew about 17 percent of votes, while Joe Mitchell and Sheila Collins each pulled in 232 votes, or 10 percent apiece, according to the unofficial count.
Crear and Munford both announced their intentions to run for the council seat in 2019 before Barlow resigned. Now, Crear will be running next year for a four-year term as an incumbent.
Munford said he was disappointed in the results, calling Crear “an extension of” Barlow.
“We needed a change, and we didn’t get any at all,” Munford said. “I gathered some momentum and energy to run in 2019.”
Crear raised nearly $150,000 in campaign contributions, nearly five times as much as Munford, the race’s second biggest fundraiser. Crear got a head start last year while campaigning for the 2019 race.
The winner of that race will determine Ward 5’s councilmember for the four-year term that ends in 2023.
Crear will resign from the Board of Regents before he’s sworn in at the April 18 City Council meeting. He will also appoint his replacement on the Planning Commission.
Summers-Armstrong said her position near the top of the pack was proof “grassroots campaigns aren’t out of vogue.”
Curtis Coleman, Timothy Hicks, Shannon Hopkins, Walter Jones III, Patricia Messinger and Randy Voyard also were vying for the seat.
Ward 5 includes part of downtown, including a portion of the Fremont Street Experience; Cashman Center; Symphony Park and west Las Vegas. The ward stretches west to U.S. Highway 95.