Supervisor Karen Abowd won re-election Tuesday by thwarting the campaign of Lisa Helget, a vocal challenger for Abowd’s seat on Carson City’s Board of Supervisors.
The supervisor from Ward 1 triumphed with a 55-45 percentage split in the vote tally, surviving constant hammering over her support for a city sales tax increase and downtown Carson Street changes. Among related broadsides was a charge she favored special interests and wouldn’t listen to all the residents who put her in office. She rejected such attacks and thanked supporters.
“I’m glad it’s done,” said Abowd, speaking from a victory party in Café at Adele’s, the restaurant and bistro she co-owns and operates with her husband. “There’s so much that we need to move forward in a positive direction with. I want to thank all the folks that came out, voted and supported me in this tough campaign.”
Abowd had mostly ignored the campaign by Helget, a self-identified feisty retired Nevada Department of Transportation employee.
The incumbent proudly took credit for sponsoring the one-eighth of a penny sales tax hike to upgrade downtown and other business corridors via public projects, plus financing a new animal shelter, a new multi-purpose athletic center and provide cultural upgrades for the city’s community center. She said on Thursday, when the board next meets, she wants to see the city “moving forward in that entire process.”
Her re-election means a board majority supporting the capital improvement projects will remain intact despite Supervisor John McKenna’s loss of his seat from Ward 3 to Lori Bagwell, businesswoman and former state employee. Helget and Bagwell both had challenged the board’s four-member plan, which only Supervisor Jim Shirk worked to block when the tax increase was up for action.
Abowd campaigned on her vision of making downtown and the city a drive-to rather than drive-by community. She also said she wanted to continue what she had started, which includes work on the Carson City Visitors Bureau and the city’s Cultural Commission, as well as add initiatives to help enhance programs for the mentally ill during her second term.
For her part, Helget concentrated much of her campaign on Abowd’s support for downtown, challenging it as an unwarranted use of money while city government let other basic services go wanting.