Tahoe Township sees first Justice of the Peace race in 24 years

The first local race of 2024 became official when Michael K. Johnson and Rick Gardner filed for Tahoe Township Justice of the Peace on Jan. 2, the first day.

It will be the first time since the turn of the century that the Lake Tahoe seat has had a competitive election.

Judicial filing continues through Jan. 12. Unless someone else files the race will go to the November election. Should a third person file, all three would appear as nonpartisans on the ballot for the primary, with the possibility that anyone received 50 percent plus 1 winning the race.

Both men sought the seat in October when commissioners appointed Johnson, who has served for the past two months.

Both have lived in Douglas County for years and serve as pro tem justices under longtime Justice of the Peace Richard Glasson, who resigned effective Oct. 5.

According to Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Amy Burgans, Gardner has yet to file a new required document, but has until 5 p.m. Jan. 12 to submit it.

Under the new law, nonincumbent judicial candidates have to fill out the questionnaire, which is posted to the clerk’s website at www.govotedouglas.com.

A 1997 graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, Johnson received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1993.

He has been a partner in the law firm Rollston, Henderson & Johnson Ltd., in Stateline since 2005. He was an attorney with Alling & Jillson for four years and with Scarpello & Alling from 1997 to 2001, according to his resume. He previously served on the Douglas County Law Library board and is a 26-year resident of Stateline.

Gardner has owned Red Hut in Stateline since 1999. It has been 30 years since he returned to Stateline. He holds a law degree from California Western School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah. Gardner is a 1979 graduate of Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove.

He served two terms as a Douglas County planning commissioner and was elected to the Tahoe Douglas District for 11 years.


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