Elaine Smith drops out of commission race | RecordCourier.com

Elaine Smith drops out of commission race

Christy Chalmers

Johnson Lane resident Elaine Smith has dropped out of the District 5 county commission race, handing incumbent Republican Kelly Kite a second term.

Smith, 61, announced her decision Wednesday at a Republican women’s breakfast, citing the time and energy required for a campaign and public service.

“I did not fully recognize what that meant,” she said after the meeting. “That fully did not impact on me until I was out really meeting people for three weeks. It gave me a greater respect for people who run for public office.”

Kite was unchallenged until Smith, also a Republican, entered the race on May 15, the final day for filing. At the time, Smith said her decision was based on the lack of challengers as well as concerns about how the county is being run.

She said Wednesday she plans to join citizens groups that are already monitoring open space preservation and Minden-Tahoe Airport, and she’s interested in road maintenance. But she won’t be throwing her support to Kite.

“I waited until the last minute to file because I had called as many people as I knew who might run against Kelly Kite, because I was frustrated and the folks I talked to did not feel represented at all,” she said. “There are issues I will be working on from the outside. If (Kite) wants help, I’ll be happy to be there to help him with issues.”

Kite said that’s fine with him.

“I would welcome the opportunity to discuss any of those issues,” he said.

Kite is happy he won’t have to mount an aggressive re-election campaign.

“This came as a complete surprise to me,” he said. “I am very pleased at the way it turned out.”

Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed said Smith’s name will still appear on the ballot because she missed a May 24 deadline for dropping out.

The district 5 race was one of two commission jobs that were contested. The other is for District 1, where incumbent Republican Steve Weissinger is being challenged by Al Wagner, also a Republican who currently sits on the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District Board.