District judge election’s first race
Douglas County voters will see a district judge’s race for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.
District Judge Tod Young is being challenged by state Optometry Board Director Caren Cafferata-Jenkins for the Ninth Judicial District Department 1 seat.
Young was appointed to the seat in 2013 and did not have an opponent the following election year.
Cafferata-Jenkins applied for the seat when longtime District Judge Dave Gamble retired.
Cafferata said she has lived in Douglas County for two years.
She filed with the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer on Friday.
Young was the second filing of the election season on Jan. 6.
“I have served this community for more than 30 years as an attorney, business owner and judge,” Young said. “Douglas County is my home, where I raised my children and where my friends and neighbors live. I am more than willing to match my dedication to this community and knowledge of the law against that of any opponent. I work for the people of Douglas County and am confident that they will support me.”
Cafferata-Jenkins said she felt it was important to give voters a choice.
“I feel judges are elected in our state and they should be part of the election process and the people should vote,” she said. “[Young] has never faced an opponent, so he’s never had to put himself before the voters. It’s time the incumbents are selected by the people and not the judicial selection commission.”
Cafferata-Jenkins said being a judge is a career-long goal.
“It’s a dream I’ve had for my entire legal career,” she said.
District Judge Tom Gregory was unopposed and will go on to serve his first full six-year term starting January 2021. He was appointed to the seat and ran unopposed in 2016 for a four-year term.
“Every day on the job I am humbled by the notion that I serve at the whim of the people of Douglas County,” Gregory said. “I am excited about the opportunity to serve six more years in my hometown, knowing that I am blessed with great support staff.”
The district judges will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Filing for judicial seats is conducted separately from those for nonjudicial races. Nonjudicial filing is March 2-13.
There are three county commission seats and three Douglas County School Board seats up this term.
County commissioner is a partisan office and the county’s large Republican majority typically dominates those races during the primary. As of the end of the year, there were 21,383 registered Republicans in the county, compared to 9,121 registered Democrats and 7,150 voters registered nonpartisan. Nevada has a closed primary, which means only Republicans may vote for their partisan candidates. If no other party’s candidate files for office, that vote results in the winner taking the seat.
Commissioners Dave Nelson, Larry Walsh and Barry Penzel are up for election this year, though only Nelson has announced he’s seeking re-election.
Topaz Ranch Estates resident Mark Gardner has announced he’s seeking Walsh’s seat while Sunridge resident Walt Nowosad has announced for Penzel’s seat.
School board trustee Karen Chessel may be term-limited having first been elected in 2006. Linda Gilkerson and Keith Byer’s seats are also up for election.