LINCOLN — Joseph Melton got caught in the wrong end of the landslide in Tuesday’s election for mayor of Holdrege.

The Republican challenger lost 1,882-279 to Republican incumbent Doug Young. But with almost 13 percent of the vote, Melton won a larger share than the 10 percent he had predicted going into Tuesday’s contest.

Since July, Melton, 30, has been detained on federal firearms charges related to illegal possession of two gun silencers. Melton’s name remained on the ballot.

A judge refused to grant Melton pretrial release after expressing concerns about his criminal record, which included misdemeanor assaults that were pleaded down to lesser charges and an armed robbery charge that was dismissed. In addition, some residents of Holdrege told a prosecutor that they feared for their safety if Melton were released.

Melton disputed that he’s a public threat, saying the allegations were trumped up by his political enemies. He also has denied the charges that he illegally possessed a silencer lacking a serial number and another that wasn’t properly registered.

Silencers are after-market devices attached to a gun muzzle that reduce the decibel-level of a gunshot.

Melton’s lawyer has filed a motion to suppress evidence collected by federal agents in the case. If Melton prevails, the charges against him could be dismissed.

If convicted, Melton faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the charges. Felons are ineligible to hold elected office in Nebraska, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Joe Duggan works in The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where he helps cover state government, the Legislature, the state Supreme Court, southeast Nebraska and Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter @JoeDugganOWH. Phone: 402-473-9587

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