Watch Now: Recall Effort Against Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts Fails | Government and Politics


EUREKA – A recall effort against Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts, who accused him of abusing county funds and inappropriately investigating crimes failed on Monday when the necessary signatures failed were not delivered on time.

County Clerk-Registrar Lisa Hoehne said Tuesday that 30 signatures had been filed as of 5 p.m. Monday and that there had been 28 signatures filed in her office earlier, but 148 valid signatures were needed for a special election in the sparsely populated county.

Watts posted a statement on Facebook after the recall effort failed, along with a video thanking those who supported him – and he contacted his opponents as well.

“I also say thank you to those who requested the recall because they brought up things that had never been put forward before. Hopefully we will come together to form a united front to solve the problems you have solved because without unity you cannot have community, ”he said in the video.

Jesse Watts speaks to the public on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page following a failed recall campaign.

The petition was filed by two employees from Eureka County: Jackie Berg, Assistant Administrative Commissioner; and Ashley Adams, administrative legal secretary to District Attorney Ted Beutel – as well as Cynthia Beutel, the attorney’s wife.

“Obviously we want the outcome to be different from what it was, but we are confident that we have had an impact on some of the constituents in the county. It sparked conversations about the sheriff and his performance on the job, and we’re proud of it, ”Adams said Tuesday.

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She said the petition campaign was separate from her work in the county and that she had “never been influenced by anyone else when it came to issues like this.”

The petition states, “Jesse Watts spends too much of our taxpayer dollars. He is abusing the county funds entrusted to him. Jesse Watts fails to investigate the crime. He thinks he is above the law. Jesse Watts doesn’t want law enforcement helping people. He only helps himself. Jesse Watts is only interested in his personal gain and his own fame. Give Jesse Watts what he deserves: to be reminded of his duties.

Watts gained attention when he joined the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association which held rallies earlier this year in Elko and Battle Mountain, and for his refusal to enforce Nevada Governor Steve’s COVID-19 mandates. Sisolak.

The sheriff said in a telephone interview on Monday that he planned to make a statement on the issue of the recall at the Eureka County Commissioners Council meeting on Friday. He also said he plans to run again next year for the sheriff. He is in his first term.

Watts, who was an MP in Eureka County from 2013 and returned to the county to run for office in 2018, said he did not have a good relationship with the district attorney, and the district attorney. wrote a long letter to voters against him.

Beutel said in an email Tuesday that he “wrote a detailed letter to voters in Eureka County regarding the current sheriff. The decision to remove or retain an elected official, as always, is up to the voters.”

He also said that “without access to accurate information our democracy will certainly suffer.”

In the open letter to voters, Beutel said that “this recall is about the ability to do a job,” and he said the effort was initiated by Republican, Democratic and Independent voters, and “any suggestion that the recall of Jesse Watts is a Democrat conspiracy, or any other form of conspiracy, is absurd.

Beutel wrote that Watts recently overspent his department’s services and supplies budget by about $ 70,000, and although he “may claim that ‘grants’ fill this hole, those grants are still money. of taxpayers ”.

His letter also states that since taking office in 2019, Watts had sought to increase the department’s budget by $ 1.5 million and spent $ 40,000 on his county credit card for the department “because he apparently thinks he has to spend everything, including the ‘what’ if ‘money. “

Beutel pointed out that Watts said at a June rally in Elko that “Nevada and US county and state sheriffs are not responding to the president. We do not respond in the Senate. We are not responding to Congress. We do not respond to our departmental commission, except for the purse strings.

The DA claims that the ideological basis for his claim to be a constitutional sheriff is flawed.

“I don’t believe Jesse Watts realizes that sheriffs are not mentioned in the US Constitution, and in the Nevada Constitution the state legislature has the power to abolish county sheriffs,” wrote Beutel, also saying that the idea that the sheriff has all the power is a “dangerous idea”.

Further, the letter claims that Watts “goes beyond what is ethically appropriate under the rules when he shares his opinions with the public on crimes he thinks people may have committed, and he criticized Watts’ use of social media “relating to the death or destruction of persons. Lives.”

Beutel also wrote that the sheriff “picks and chooses which crime reports are sent to the prosecutor, and those reports are not very fact-laden,” and he said that under Watts’ direction, crimes do not matter. properly investigated and evidence is not always properly collected.

Beutel, who has served as Eureka County District Attorney since 1999, was himself the target of a failed recall election in 2005 due to unpopular decisions.

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