Dismal voter turnout was a major factor in the April 5 municipal primary election, especially in Henderson, where fewer than 15,000 people (or roughly 12 percent of eligible voters) cast their ballots despite three City Council seats being up for grabs along with a Municipal Court judgeship.
Three of those four races were decided in the primaries, leaving only the Ward 4 City Council position to be settled in the June 7 general election, with former Henderson Police Chief Michael Mayberry and Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Sam Bateman vying for the seat vacated by Steve Kirk, who is being forced out by term limits.
The candidates anticipate even lower voter participation for their runoff. “Honestly, we think that if we can get 10,000 people out—and I’d love to see more—we will have had a very good day,” Mayberry says.
Bateman, 33, an 11-year resident of Henderson who has served on the city’s planning commission since 2007, received more than 30 percent of the vote (4,439 total votes) in the primary election. Mayberry, 58, who spent nearly 30 years with the Henderson Police Department before resigning in 2005 because of heart problems, collected nearly 27 percent of the vote (3,927 total votes).
Henderson residents can cast their ballots for races outside their ward, so candidates campaign citywide. “It really requires each councilperson to be cognizant of all of the issues across the city and to really take the whole city into account,” Bateman says. “The downside to it is it makes running City Council races a whole heck of a lot more expensive.”
With each ballot cast a precious commodity, both candidates will have to hustle to reach as many potential voters as possible over the next two months. “The key to winning a race like this is to get to know as many people as I can,” Bateman says.
Depending on how many voters bother to turn out, it might not take too many introductions for either candidate to come out ahead.