Withdrawal clears field for Sharla Hales to win commission race

Sharla Hales

Sharla Hales

With the announcement that a second opponent is withdrawing, Minden Republican Sharla Hales has essentially won her race for Douglas County Commissioner District 2.

On Thursday, Minden resident Dan Casentini said he had the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office remove his name from the ballot.

“I have decided to withdraw my candidacy for District 2 Commissioner,” he said in a statement to The R-C. “I believe Sharla Hales shares several of my concerns about key issues in Douglas County, and I am endorsing Sharla for District Two Commissioner.”

A 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran, Casentini grew up in Carson Valley before joining the service upon graduation from Douglas High School in 1987.

“In the meantime, I continue to faithfully serve my country in other capacities and hope to have the opportunity to serve Douglas County in the future,” he said.

Casentini signed up for the commissioner’s race on the last day of filing. He said he has spent the intervening week in meetings that helped lead him to his decision.

“I respect Dan for coming forward because he has deeply held beliefs,” Hales said on Friday. “I have learned from him and appreciate his passion. Being a commissioner is a public trust and responsibility I take seriously. I am committed to being hard-working, transparent, and thoughtful and to representing all county residents with care and respect.”

Hales, 62, is a 33-year resident of Minden and a three-term former Douglas County School Board trustee from 2003-2014, where she served as president of the Nevada Association of School Boards.

She is a member of the Sierra Nevada Republican Women Club, Douglas County Republican Central Committee, and currently serves as the general legal counsel for the Churchill County School District. She is also a graduate of Leadership Douglas County.

“I know Douglas County needs commissioners who will face challenges with strength, not fear; commissioners who will respect, value, and advocate for the people and businesses of Douglas; commissioners who are dedicated to keeping Douglas a vibrant, healthy, thriving, free community,” she said when she announced her candidacy in December.

Doug Robbins, Hales’ anticipated opponent, announced he was leaving for Poland when the Russians invaded Ukraine, the Friday before election filing began.

This is only the third time since the Board of Commissioners expanded to five members that a candidate for the District 2 commissioner spot has gone unchallenged. Steve Thaler was unopposed in 2014 but was defeated for re-election in 2018 by current commissioner John Engels, who didn’t seek another term.

Jacques Etchegoyhen was unopposed in 1998 for his second term. In 2002, Etchegoyhen became the last person to be re-elected to the District 2 commissioners seat.


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