Titus, Wheeler may face off for state Senate bid in 2022

Assemblywoman Robin Titus walking out of the Assembly

Assembly members Jim Wheeler (R-Minden) and Robin Titus (R-Wellington) are both eyeing a move to the state Senate in 2022.

Sen. James Settelmeyer (R-Minden) is termed out of the Senate after this session, and the two Assembly districts nestled in his sprawling state Senate district are represented by Wheeler (one term left in the Assembly) and Titus (two terms left).

Settelmeyer’s Senate District 17 covers several western and northern Nevada rural counties, and is one of the safest Republican districts in the state — meaning the winner of the primary is essentially assured a Senate seat. Settelmeyer won the 2018 election with nearly 72 percent of the vote over his Democratic opponent.

Both Titus and Wheeler confirmed their interest in a bid when asked by The Nevada Independent. Titus said she would run for the seat, assuming that the boundary isn’t changed too drastically during the 2020 redistricting process, and Wheeler said he has moved beyond “interested” and is definitely running for the seat in 2022.

It’s not unusual for legislators to start jostling for future positions during the legislative session — then-Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) publicly weighed a bid for a state Senate seat held by Don Gustavson in the 2017 session, though the two worked out the issue with Gustavson opting not to run for re-election.

More recently, former Assembly members Ellen Spiegel and Richard Carrillo left their seats to run for a state Senate seat vacated by termed out Sen. David Parks — both lost in a primary to eventual winner, Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas).

The two have largely avoided public spats, even as Titus took over as leader of the Assembly Republican caucus from Wheeler after the 2019 session. 

Both lawmakers have taken some preliminary steps to shore up their Republican Party credentials; Wheeler prior to the 2021 session announced formation of an “Assembly Freedom Caucus,” composed of seven fellow Assembly Republicans.

For her part, Titus has adhered closely to the state Republican Party line — including recently publishing an open letter on her Facebook page detailing Assembly Republican efforts to focus on “election integrity” during the session.

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in Behind the Bar, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2021 Legislature. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Freshman Orientation: Democratic Assemblyman David Orentlicher

As in sessions past, The Nevada Independent is publishing a series of profiles featuring new lawmakers in the state. This is the fourteenth installment.

  • Freshman Democrat who succeeds Democrat Ellen Spiegel
  • Represents District 20, which includes portions of Henderson and the Las Vegas Valley east of McCarran Airport and surrounding Sunset Park
  • District 20 leans heavily Democratic (42.7 percent Democratic, 25.2 percent Republican and 25.2 percent nonpartisan in the 2020 election)
  • Orentlicher defeated three opponents in the 2020 Democratic primary, garnering about 8 percentage points more than his closest opponent
  • He did not face an opponent in the general election.
  • He sits on the following committees: Health and Human Services, Judiciary and Revenue.

CAREER

Orentlicher is a professor at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law and director of the school’s health law program.

FAMILY & PERSONAL

Orentlicher’s father and twin sister are law professors, and his brother is an art professor. He has one child in college and one who is a junior in high school.

When he’s not working, he enjoys hiking in the national parks in the southwest and Cajun dancing, a hobby he picked up during a federal law clerkship in Louisiana.

PROFILE

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Bethesda, Maryland, David Orentlicher grew up surrounded by people doing important work in the government.

It helped shape his view of government as an instrument for great good — a vehicle for ensuring people have housing, a good education and basic needs met, and one with the heft that volunteerism and nonprofits can’t completely replace.

“The 1,000 Points of Light of George H.W. [Bush] only goes so far,” he said. “If we don't have a strong role for government, we can't solve these problems.”

Drawn by the ability to make a difference, Orentlicher started out pursuing a career in medicine, attending Harvard Medical School and then spending several years in internal medicine. It wasn’t long before he had to decide whether he wasn’t enjoying the work because he was exhausted and sleep-deprived, or whether it just wasn’t the right fit.

“I wanted to make sure I gave it a fair chance and so after medical school I started a residency and then I went into private practice,” he said. “Then I could tell medicine is a great career, but it wasn't the right career for David Orentlicher.”

So he went to Harvard Law School and entered the legal profession just as the area of health law was blossoming. It gave him the chance to combine experience he’d gained in medicine with questions of how law and regulations play out; the field has become even more active with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and questions of how to balance the health priorities of COVID mitigation measures with personal and economic interests.

“How do you make sure you address the health needs of the public, and also protect their other interests?” he said. “You’ve got to respect both sides.” 

Right out of law school he clerked for a federal judge in Louisiana, where he picked up the hobby of Cajun dancing. He worked at a private law firm and then ended up at the American Medical Association, which helps define the policy positions of the trade association and develop an ethical code for doctors.

He said he’s always been interested in ethical questions, such as how a doctor might make a different decision on whether to resuscitate a patient depending on whether the person in their 80s and has cancer versus if the person is 25 and otherwise healthy.

“That question to me was much more interesting than ‘Should we give him 25 milligrams or 30 milligrams of the diuretic?’’” he said. “That didn't seem as compelling to me.”

The association staked out positions on a wide range of issues, from the HIV epidemic to abortion, organ transplants, end of life concerns and cost containment. One career highlight was when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor held up an AMA brief he had authored and asked the parties what they thought of the AMA’s position. 

But eventually, seeing that he couldn’t always be as vigorous an advocate for the trade group’s positions as they might like, he decided it was time to move on. 

“Sometimes, there were issues coming up where I could see we just were on ... different pages,” he said. “And it was very hard ... for me to represent a position that I wasn't comfortable with.”

He started teaching at Indiana University, which brought him to the state where he would eventually be a lawmaker for six years. He launched an unsuccessful bid for Congress in Indiana in the 2016 cycle before moving to Nevada, where he is now director of the UNLV Health Law program, and deciding to once again pursue state office. 

“It's been 12 years, so I've done some more thinking, and it seemed like a good time to go in and try to implement some of the health policy reforms I've been writing about,” he said.

But he brings with him some wisdom garnered from several terms as a state lawmaker elsewhere, including on the value of compromise.

“You're never going to get 100 percent. And if you try to get 100 percent, you're not going to get anything,” he said. “If you can get 80 percent, that's huge. And the cost of going from zero to 80 is often much less than going from 80 to 100. … You can't compromise your core principles. But you don't have to. Eighty percent gets you your core principles.” 

ON THE ISSUES

Health care

Orentlicher agrees with President Barack Obama that the American health care system under the Affordable Care Act is not the ideal that might have been built if the country could start from scratch.

“We have a system that's broken in many ways,” he said. “The Affordable Care Act did a great job of increasing access, but it did that by putting more people into a broken system, rather than making the fundamental changes we need.”

Among the changes he wants to see is a greater emphasis on public health spending to try to close disparities laid bare in the pandemic.

“If you're going to spend a trillion dollars on health care, you ought to put more than a few percent into public health, because that's where you get the biggest return on your health care dollar is on prevention,” he said. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and we've just never adequately funded our public health system.”

He believes many of the ills in the health sphere are a simple product of poverty.

“If you're wondering how you're going to make people healthier, give them more money,” he said. “If you move from the upper economic parts of the city to the lower, you'll see a drop in life expectancy by a decade or more.”

He thinks former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who campaigned on the idea of a universal basic income, probably had the best health care plan of all the 2020 candidates.

“He didn't realize it, but he did, because giving everybody a decent income will probably do more for improving public health than anything — than all the investments in MRIs and other fancy technologies will do.”

Taxes

Orentlicher said he doesn’t want to do anything that would make Nevada’s tax structure more regressive. The state is heavily dependent on the sales tax, and it’s considered regressive because poorer people pay a larger share of their income on it than those who are wealthier.

He says he’ll weigh any tax proposals based on whether they are fair, broad-based and simple.

From his time as a state lawmaker in Indiana, Orentlicher also brings experience overhauling the property tax structure. Just before he was elected there, the state Supreme Court had ordered Indiana to fix its property tax.

Property tax had not been on his radar, but with the order, some homeowners saw their property tax bills triple or quadruple.

“We had to do it, and when it happens all at once in a dramatic way, it causes a lot of distortions,” he said. “What I learned was, you do some, a little bit here, a little bit there, a little bit there. It all adds up to something big. So hopefully we can do something similar here.”

Angry constituents protested outside the statehouse and crowded town halls, so much so that Orentlicher asked police to attend in case things got out of hand. Conservatives and liberals alike were upset.

“I also learned, they weren't ready at first for me to respond. They wanted for the first few weeks, first few town halls ... for me to hear them and just listen,” he said.

He hopes Nevada, which has resisted taking steps to adjust its property tax, doesn’t face a similar experience. 

“We need to get out in front, and do it right,” he said. 

Election reform

While Orentlicher speaks highly of the benefits of expanded voting by mail, he notes there can be trade-offs that make campaigning more challenging, particularly for down-ballot candidates.

“As a candidate, you'd like people to wait until the last minute so they can hear your full message,” he said. 

Candidates need to start campaigning earlier to reach voters who start submitting their ballots in October or even earlier. That could have unintended consequences, he said.

“You've got to add another four weeks. So you're raising the cost of campaigns. And that's … gonna make it harder for people who don't have as much money to run. It's going to make it harder for people challenging incumbents to run,” he said.

Criminal justice reform

Orentlicher is sponsoring legislation on criminal justice reform, including a bill, AB243, that calls for race-blind charging, so prosecutors would not see the defendant’s race or other identifying characteristics before deciding what charges to file. 

It would also create an advisory task force on race and policing. The group would draw on the expertise of academics as well as law enforcement to help the Legislature make better decisions about the reforms they want to enact.

It derives from an experience he had in medical school, when a professor was simulating a neurologic response, and the outcome was the opposite of what the class expected. 

“One of the earliest lessons I got in medical school — I'll never forget this lesson — was what you think is going to happen in terms of theory doesn't necessarily happen in practice,” he said. “I want to make sure that before I propose a bill or before I vote on a bill, that we've done our research.”

Freshman Orientation: Senator Roberta Lange

As in sessions past, The Nevada Independent is publishing a series of profiles featuring all the new lawmakers in the state. This is the sixth installment of more than a dozen. Check back in the coming days for additional stories on new legislators' backgrounds, interests and policy positions.

SENATOR ROBERTA LANGE

  • Freshman Democrat who succeeds Democratic Sen. David Parks
  • Represents District 7, which includes parts of Las Vegas southeast of the Strip and north of Henderson 
  • District 7 leans heavily Democratic (43.5 percent Democratic, 23.8 percent Republican and 25.8 percent nonpartisan in the 2020 election)
  • Lange defeated two other candidates — former Assembly members Ellen Spiegel and Richard Carrillo — in the 2020 Democratic primary with 38.2 percent of the vote.
  • She did not face an opponent in the 2020 general election
  • She will sit on the Education, Legislative Operations and Elections, and Commerce and Labor committees

FAMILY AND EDUCATION

Born in California and raised in Whitefish, Montana, Lange attended and obtained her undergraduate degree from a private Christian college in Southern California on a basketball scholarship (the school is now The Master’s University, but was previously named Los Angeles Baptist College).

After graduating, she moved to Washington state and took a job as a public school teacher. She met her husband, Ken, at a teacher’s conference, and moved to Las Vegas in 1995. She has four adult children.

CAREER

Lange is a retired public school teacher, but is best known for her past involvement with Democratic Party campaign and issues, including serving as chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party from 2011 to 2017.

PROFILE

For a brief period of time in 2016, Roberta Lange was in the center of the national political universe.

The simmering conflict between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary erupted during a raucous Nevada state party convention, filled with accusations of rule-bending and cheating over the awarding of Nevada’s delegates to choose the next Democratic nominee for president.

In the center of the firestorm was Lange — the state party chairwoman, and soon the object of scorn and even death threats from Sanders supporters around the country.

Five years later, Lange said the attacks and attention from her role in the convention have largely evaporated. In talking with Democratic primary voters while running her office, she said she spoke with several Sanders supporters who were at the convention, but was able to have calmer, productive conversations about what had happened.

“People had deep convictions for what they believed in, whether it was Medicare for All, or a progressive agenda, and they want to make sure that that was a part of the overall package moving forward, and that Bernie Sanders was the best messenger for them in that situation,” she said. “I think they still have those convictions. I have my convictions, but now I think we can talk about it.”

With the benefit of hindsight, she said the entirety of the experience re-committed her to involvement in political life.

“After I was able to step away and heal myself, my voice inside of me... said, you still have that conviction, and you can't let it go, you still have to fight for what you believe in,” she said. “And I think it never went away. And it's stronger than ever. And so I think things happen in our lives for a reason, and if we can take those things and grow from it, then we are better in the end.”

Lange’s interest in political issues didn’t begin at an early age — her family largely avoided bringing up the topic, and a similar dynamic awaited her at college. But after moving to Washington to take a teaching job, she joined her teacher’s union and a “whole new world opened up to me.”

She served two terms as president of the Washington State Education Association, spent time as the union’s chief negotiator and lobbied the state legislature on education issues. A memento from that time followed her to Carson City — a framed photo of her (then a teachers’ union lobbyist) sitting at a Washington state senator’s desk, whom she had visited to lobby.

“I remember asking him if I could please sit at his desk,” she said. “And so I'm going to take that picture to Carson City, because I think that's when I first thought that maybe I would like to be in elected office someday. And sometimes those things have a life of their own.”

Lange moved to Nevada in 1995 after meeting her husband at a national teachers convention, taking a job at Durango High School. But her involvement in the political sphere continued apace — taking a position as a deputy campaign manager in U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s 1998 re-election campaign. Additional political stints included work for a congressional candidate (Tom Gallagher), Dina Titus’s gubernatorial campaign in 2006 and state director for former presidential candidate Bill Richardson in 2008.

She then transitioned to party politics, chairing the Clark County Democratic Party for three years and eventually taking over as chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party in 2011 — a role she held for three two-year terms (she also mounted an unsuccessful bid for Democratic National Committee secretary in 2017).

Despite two decades in either behind-the-scenes or party organization roles, Lange said she always had an interest eventually running for office — finally taking the plunge after longtime Democratic Sen. David Parks termed out of office after the 2019 session. She said it was “hard to run against people that are your friends” — Lange narrowly defeated two former Assembly Democrats in the primary — but that she knew it was her time to run for office.

“I felt like I had gathered all my tools,” she said. “And all the years that I had been in political work, that I would be ready to run whenever the opportunity presented itself. And so, this time was the time.”

State Senator Roberta Lange on the fourth day of the 81st session of the Legislature in Carson City on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

ON THE ISSUES

Ending the caucus and other election issues

While saying that she wants Nevada to remain early or even first on the presidential nominating calendar, Lange said she would support moving Nevada from a caucus to primary election state.

It’s a move being worked on by Nevada Democrats statewide — part of the jostle between the early states on the primary election calendar — and is likely to come up in the Legislature, with Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson proposing a bill that would enable the state to transition away from a caucus to a primary election.

Lange said she liked that the caucus process required presidential candidates to campaign in the community, and hoped that a similar dynamic would continue to exist even if Nevada switched its election process for presidential preference contests.

“Whether we're a caucus state or a primary state, I want the same kinds of things to happen with the candidates, because I think we reflect the fabric of the nation,” she said.

Lange also said she was working on a bill draft that she described as “revisions” to current laws governing political parties, based on her experience as head of the state Democratic Party. She declined to give explicit details as the proposal is still in the works, but said it would include reducing the size of political party conventions and also getting rid of precinct chairs. 

Taxes

Lange declined to stake a position on any of the pending tax issues facing the Legislature, including proposals by the Clark County Education Association to hike the sales and gaming tax rates, measures passed during the 2020 special sessions changing the constitutional limits on mining taxes and any effort to change the property tax formula.

Lange said that she thought teachers should be paid more, but was cautious about pushing for any tax increases given that the state’s economy was still in a recovery phase.

“I'm not a person that thinks we should be governed by petitions,” she said. “I was an educator, where I lobbied and always asked for more money, and more money, and more money to raise salaries, and we never got it. I understand the frustration, and I want to help find a solution. It's just really hard at this time when everybody's getting cuts to talk about how we give more.”

Other legislative proposals

Lange’s list of bill draft request topics cover a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Updating planned unit development laws for counties or cities to streamline the process for businesses to make “minor changes” without going through the normal zoning or code process
  • Education changes, including allowing for college credits if high school students get certain seals on their diplomas, and a civics program that includes community service projects and recognizing “schools of distinction” in civics education
  • A measure related to energy storage
  • Health care changes, including allowing cancer patients to access drugs typically reserved for more serious cancer cases earlier in their treatment, and a measure related to female privacy and medical examinations

Nevada grows majority-female Legislature after 2020 election, with more than 60 percent of seats to be filled by women

Assembly Majority Floor Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson, right, speaks with Deputy Minority Whip Robin Titus, on Friday, July 31, 2020 during the first day of the 32nd Special Session of the Legislature in Carson City.

Two years after Nevada made history as the first U.S. state to have women compose a majority of its state Legislature, lawmakers will return to Carson City in 2021 with nearly 60 percent of the seats filled by female legislators — by far the largest percentage of any statehouse in the country.

Though Democrats lost three seats in the Assembly and one in the state Senate after final vote totals were released over the weekend, one of the most notable changes heading into the 2021 Legislature will be the gender makeup; female lawmakers will now represent 38 seats in the 63-member body.

In total, the 42-seat state Assembly will have 27 female lawmakers and 15 male lawmakers, including 19 female Democrats and eight female Republicans. In the 21-member state Senate, men will hold 10 seats and females will hold 11 (two Republicans and nine Democrats). Women held 33 of the 63 seats in the 2019 Legislature, hitting the majority mark after two female Assembly members (Rochelle Nguyen and Bea Duran) were appointed to vacant positions by the Clark County Commission in December 2019.

The increase in female lawmakers can be attributed to a variety of factors, including several retiring or termed out male legislators being replaced by women and both parties running female candidates in several major races, including three close state Senate seats. That means substantial turnover — roughly a quarter of legislative seats will be filled by newcomers — will result in Nevada again having the nation’s highest percentage of female lawmakers.

Democratic Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, first elected in 1999, said the gender balance was closer to 70-30 male dominated when she entered the Legislature, but that gradual cultural shifts over the next 20 years helped drive the shift to first gender parity and later a clear female majority in the statehouse.

“Women realize that we've got to be at the table,” she said. “We've worked very hard for that. We've educated folks. We've gotten them involved. And they've seen what's at stake, and they want to be part of the conversation. I think that's fantastic.”

Regardless of gender make-up, lawmakers entering the 2021 legislative session will have an immediate and pressing agenda: constitutionally-mandated redistricting; a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and likely additional major budget cuts to the state general fund; and a host of potential tax issues, including efforts by the Clark County Education Association to qualify a sales and gaming tax initiative, and proposals brought during the 2020 summer special session to hike the cap on mining taxes in the state constitution.

But Jill Tolles, a Republican Assemblywoman entering her third term, said that growing ranks of female lawmakers also have helped bring more legislation to the forefront on previously under-addressed issues, including measures aimed at preventing sexual assault or sex trafficking.

Tolles said it was special to be a part of history as part of the first female majority Legislature, but that it will be more important when reaching gender parity isn’t newsworthy.

“It's still exciting, and it's still wonderful to see, but I think that one of the things that we saw in 2019 was we very quickly after the celebrations, just rolled up our sleeves and got to work on policy,” she said. “And not just policy on some of those issues that we hadn't traditionally given as much light to or given as much time to in the past, but all policies that impact men and women equally.”

Nationwide in 2020, only about 29.3 percent of lawmakers in state legislatures are female, according to a tally by the Center for American Women and Politics.

Seven legislative districts are going from male to female representative, including:

  • Assembly District 2, where Republican Heidi Kasama will take over a seat held by termed-out Assemblyman John Hambrick
  • Assembly District 6, where Democrat Shondra Summers-Armstrong will take the seat held previously by William McCurdy (elected to the Clark County Commission in 2020)
  • Assembly District 18, where Democrat Venicia Considine will take the seat of former Assemblyman Richard Carrillo. Carrillo left the seat to mount an unsuccessful bid for state Senate
  • Assembly District 19, where Republican Annie Black defeated incumbent Chris Edwards in the June primary election. Black did not face a general election opponent
  • Assembly District 21, where Democrat Elaine Marzola will represent the seat formerly held by Democrat Ozzie Fumo (who ran and lost in a bid for state Supreme Court)
  • Assembly District 30, where Democrat Natha Anderson will represent a district previously held by Democrat Greg Smith. Smith was appointed to the seat after the resignation of former Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle amid accusations of sexual harassment
  • State Senate District 7, where Democrat Roberta Lange takes the seat of termed-out state Sen. David Parks. Lange won a narrow primary victory over incumbent Assembly members Ellen Spiegel and Richard Carrillo, but did not face a general election opponent

Three districts previously represented by female lawmakers will now have a male representative, including:

  • Assembly District 7, previously held by Democrat Dina Neal but that now will be represented by Democrat C.H. Miller
  • Assembly District 20, previously held by Democrat Ellen Spiegel but that now will be represented by Democrat David Orentlicher
  • Assembly District 37, where Republican Andy Matthews ousted Democratic incumbent Shea Backus

The tally of female lawmakers has increased since the start of the 2019 session, owing to vacancies (several resignations and a death) of seats held by men but filled by female appointees. Ahead of the 2020 election, the 63-member body was composed of 34 female lawmakers and 29 male lawmakers. 

Carlton said she has enjoyed working with an increasingly diverse group of female lawmakers of both parties during the legislative session, saying that the legislative process is improved when more diverse viewpoints are brought to the table. While female lawmakers aren’t a monolith — she noted that many come from different career fields and range from retirees to those just starting their careers — Carlton said that their outlook and approach to the legislative process yield beneficial results.

“We have a tendency more to want to wrap our arms around something and try to solve all the pieces of the puzzle, while I think the guys sometimes want to dissect it and see what's wrong, and then put it together,” she said. “We come at things in a different viewpoint with all the different life experiences that we have.”

Legislative candidates raised $1.8 million over last three months, campaign finance reports show

The Nevada Legislature Building

It’s been more than a month since races were called in Nevada’s June primary election, but campaign finance reports showing who helped legislative candidates win their contests have only just been published.

Under a state law approved in 2019 and taking effect this election cycle, local and state candidates for elected office are required to file reports detailing their contributions and political spending every three months, similar to requirements for federal candidates. 

But unlike federal candidates, who are required to disclose their donors and political spending ahead of primary and general elections, no such requirement was made in Nevada law for statewide or legislative candidates — leaving voters and the public in the dark on the last two months of fundraising before the state’s primary election.

Reports were required to be submitted to the secretary of state’s office on Wednesday, July 15, and cover the period between April 1 and June 30.

In total, legislative candidates reported raising more than $1.8 million and spending $1.9 million during that three-month reporting period. Candidates ended the period with a combined $4.7 million in the bank, led by Democratic legislative leaders Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro ($692,000) and Speaker Jason Frierson ($442,900).

Although only one incumbent legislative candidate lost re-election in the primary (Republican Chris Edwards), the fundraising reports shine a light into the breadth and scope of political fundraising that occurred ahead of some of the state’s most hard-fought primary contents.

Campaign finance reports also provide an inside look into what races each political party thinks will be the most competitive come November, as well as a sense of how much influence certain groups, businesses or other politically powerful interests may have come the 2021 legislative session.

Democrats currently control 29 of 42 seats in the Assembly and 13 of 21 seats in the Senate. A seat flipped in the Senate would give the party a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses.

Fundraising totals reported on Wednesday are significant for another reason: it marks the last time for several weeks that lawmakers will be able to fundraise because of blackout rules around the ongoing special legislative session. State law prohibits any legislator from collecting campaign contributions during a special session and for at least 15 days afterwards — meaning many incumbents in tough races will be at a temporary disadvantage while their opponents can continue fundraising.

Here’s a look at how the fundraising battle played out in some of the state's top legislative primaries, and the state of play in competitive districts a few months before the November general election.

COMPETITIVE PRIMARIES

Senate District 7 

Former Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange claimed a narrow victory of 132 votes over Democratic Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel and, with no general election opponents, will take the seat, which covers parts of eastern Las Vegas and Henderson.

Lange, who was endorsed by the Nevada State Democratic Caucus, trailed far behind Spiegel in spending and fundraising in the first quarter but dominated in both areas in the second quarter, spending $136,000 and raising $66,000, $5,000 of which came from an in-kind donation of a poll from Nevada State Democrats. 

Her long list of donors included several Democratic senators, including $5,000 each from Cannizzaro's campaign and PACs connected to Mo Denis, Yvanna Cancela and Joyce Woodhouse. Other top donors included $5,000 from the Nevada Hispanic Leadership Fund and $5,000 from Citizens for Justice PAC, a PAC formed to combat the influence of big business and the insurance industry in politics.

The majority of her spending went to advertising. She also spent more than $18,000 on polling and gave $2,500 to Cannizzaro's campaign.

Lange ended the second quarter with just $2,600 in cash on hand, more than $139,000 less than Spiegel's war chest, and will join the Legislature in 2021. 

Assembly District 2

In a Republican primary saturated with candidates, former Nevada REALTORS president Heidi Kasama emerged victorious, with 47.9 percent of the vote. To represent the Southern Nevada district, Kasama will go toe-to-toe with Democrat Radhika “RPK” Kunnel, a law school student and former cancer biology professor.

During the three-month fundraising period in the second quarter, Kasama reported raising $16,385 and spending about $57,000 on expenses related to advertising, consultants and other costs. She ended the second quarter with about $63,600 in cash-on-hand, largely supported by $56,000 she gave her campaign in the first quarter.

Kasama’s top contributions included $3,000 from Republican Assemblyman Glen Leavitt’s campaign fund, $2,500 from Republican Assemblywoman Jill Tolles’s campaign, $1,000 from Assemblyman Tom Roberts’ campaign and $1,000 from the Business Leaders for Ethical Government PAC, which also contributed to Sen. Julia Ratti in 2018.

Kunnel’s contribution totals for the second quarter are much lower than the donations Kasama received. During the three-month donation period, Kunnel received $5,518 in contributions, $2,000 of which are demarcated as in-kind donations. She also received a $900 donation from former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s campaign fund.

The 2 percentage point Republican voter registration advantage in the district indicates Kasama could have the advantage.

Assembly District 4

Democratic Assemblywoman Connie Munk ran unopposed in the primary and is set to face former GOP Assemblyman Richard McArthur in the northwest Las Vegas Valley Assembly district’s general election. 

Munk, who eked out a narrow victory against McArthur in 2018 with a 120-vote margin out of nearly 30,000 votes cast, reported raising $18,154 during the second quarter, with about $280 in in-kind donations. 

Her largest contribution was $3,000 from the Citizens for Justice PAC (trial lawyers). She reported spending about $2,800 on mostly advertising and some office expenses, ending the second quarter with more than $87,000 cash on hand.

Fundraising for McArthur lagged behind Munk for the first two quarters. McArthur reported $700 in contributions during the second quarter, spending roughly $12,500 on expenses related to advertising and ending the second quarter with about $15,500 cash on hand.

McArthur defeated Donnie Gibson, the owner of a construction and equipment rental company, in the primary by securing 51.2 percent of votes to Gibson’s 48.9. That comes in spite of Gibson outspending him by more than $43,000 in the first quarter and almost $83,000 in the second quarter.

McArthur served three non-consecutive terms in the Assembly, including two terms between 2008 and 2012 and one term from 2016 to 2018. In a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by less than 1 percentage point, the race between Munk and McArthur could be close.

Assembly District 19

Republican Chris Edwards was the only lawmaker to lose in a primary election this cycle, after being outraised in the most recent fundraising quarter by opponent and Mesquite City Councilwoman Annie Black.

Black, who easily defeated Edwards in the primary election with 61 percent of the vote, reported raising more than $67,700 during the three-month fundraising period, including $9,000 in personal loans, $5,000 in in-kind contributions from a graphics company and nearly $6,000 in contributions under $100. She reported spending roughly $30,700, including repayment of loans, and ended the period with about $27,900 in cash on hand.

Her top donors included several family members, the holding company of Planet 13 marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas, the Nevada REALTORS PAC and a PAC run by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, a former legislative colleague of Edwards who once famously told him to “sit your ass down” on the Assembly floor.

Edwards reported raising $17,800, including sizable sums from Assembly Republicans Robin Titus, Al Kramer, Glen Leavitt and a PAC affiliated with Tom Roberts. He reported spending just over $28,300 and ended the period with $7,100 in cash on hand.

As no Democrats or other candidates filed to run in the race, Black will automatically be elected to the Legislature at the general election.

TOP 2020 GENERAL ELECTION RACES

Assembly District 29

Democratic incumbent Lesley Cohen will face Steven DeLisle, a dentist with several offices in Southern Nevada, in November. Cohen represented the Henderson Assembly district, a swing district, from 2012 to 2014 and lost her re-election bid to Stephen Silberkraus before reclaiming the seat in 2016.

Cohen leads DeLisle in fundraising and cash on hand at the end of the second quarter. Her $17,500 raised was boosted with a $5,000 contribution from Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton's campaign and donations from unions, including $1,500 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, and several PACS connected to firefighters in Nevada.

After spending $1,900 mostly on office expenses, she ended the period with more than $83,000 in available cash.

DeLisle, who took 63 percent of the vote in his Republican primary, raised $11,300 this period. His biggest donor was the conservative Keystone Corporation PAC with a $5,000 donation. He also received $1,000 from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and $500 from Republican Assemblywoman Alexis Hansen, who represents part of Washoe County and several rural counties. 

DeLisle spent nearly $18,000 more than Cohen in the second quarter on a mix of advertising, consultants and office expenses. He has nearly $55,000 in available cash.

Assembly District 37

In one of the swingiest Assembly seats this election cycle, the Democratic incumbent Shea Backus is squaring off against Republican challenger Andy Matthews, former president of the conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute. 

Backus won the seat from Republican Assemblyman Jim Marchant by 135 votes in 2018, and Matthews beat out the three other Republicans in the primary election by carrying 49 percent of the vote.

During the second quarter, Matthews reported raising $39,182. His largest donations came in three $5,000 contributions — one from Assemblywoman Jill Tolles’ campaign, another from William Brady, owner of hospitality industry supplier Brady Industries, and the third from Keystone Corporation, a PAC supporting Nevada conservatives. 

Matthews spent more than $113,000 on expenses related to travel, advertising, consultants and office supplies, ending the second quarter with a cash-on-hand balance of $40,457. 

Though Matthews’ spending far outstripped that of any other candidate in the district, Backus has a higher cash-on-hand fund of $136,421 heading into the general election. During the second quarter she reported receiving $28,496 in contributions with top donations amounting to $8,000 from Citizens for Justice PAC, $2,500 from Southwest Gas and another $2,500 from the International Union of Operating Engineers, a union of heavy equipment operators.

Backus’ expenses for the second quarter amounted to $4,600, which went toward advertising and office expenses.

Senate District 5

There are three candidates on the ballot for the general election in Senate District 5, which includes portions of Henderson and southeastern Las Vegas. The district is currently represented by Democrat Joyce Woodhouse, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Democratic candidate Kristee Watson led contributions in the district this period, reporting donations of $53,303, while Republican Carrie Buck reported $34,202 and Libertarian Tim Hagan reported none. All three candidates ran unopposed in their June primaries. 

Watson, the program facilitator for literacy nonprofit Spread the Word Nevada, saw major contributions from the Women’s Empowerment PAC, AFSCME, the Nevada Service Employees Union and Citizens for Justice. She also received $2,500 from the Committee to Elect Sen. Dallas Harris. 

Watson reported only $740 in spending and a cash on hand balance of just over $169,000. Buck has a lower reported cash on hand balance at $95,519, and the Republican candidate has been spending far more, reporting $12,386 during the same period, with nearly $12,000 of that going towards consulting.

Buck received a $10,000 contribution from the Keystone Corporation in April and $5,000 from the campaign of Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer. She has also received large donations from the PAC Nevadans for Integrity in Politics and Associated General Contractors.

Hagan has reported $0 in spending and $0 cash on hand.

Senate District 6

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro narrowly won her first bid for office in 2016, and appears headed to another close contest against Republican attorney April Becker in one of the most important legislative races on the ballot.

Cannizzaro raised more dollars during the fundraising period than any other candidate — $114,000 — and ended June with more than $692,000 in cash on hand, with reported spending less than $8,800.

Her top donors included 13 entities giving $5,000, including many labor groups; AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Nevada Service Employees Union, and firefighter unions in North Las Vegas and Henderson. She also received $5,000 contributions from the Nevada REALTORS PAC, Eglet Adams law firm, the leadership PAC of Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, and the Majority 2020 PAC (which is run by Cannizzaro).

Her largest reported spending was a $5,000 contribution to Democratic state Senate candidate Roberta Lange.

On the Republican side, Becker reported raising nearly $51,700 and spending close to $58,000 during the reporting period, ending with nearly $150,000 in the bank. 

Her top contributions including $10,000 from the conservative Keystone Corporation, and $5,000 each from Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer’s campaign and a construction company owned by former casino executive William Richardson. 

Senate District 15

Republican Sen. Heidi Gansert emerged as one of the top fundraisers of the cycle, reporting nearly $79,000 in contributions and sitting on the biggest pile of campaign cash of any legislative Republican ($271,000) in her first re-election bid for this Reno-area district. 

Her top donors included $10,000 each from the company operating the Stratosphere and a PAC operated by former Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison, as well as $5,000 from Reno Assemblywoman Jill Tolles and $2,500 from her own PAC (NV First).

She reported spending just over $74,000 during the fundraising period, which primarily went to consultant and advertising expenses.

But Democrats have endorsed and rallied around Wendy Jauregui-Jackins, a county appraiser and the sister of Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, who both easily beat back a primary challenge in June and reported raising more than $72,000 (including $13,000 in in-kind contributions) during the fundraising cycle.

Her biggest donors included $10,000 from the federal Teamsters PAC, $5,000 each from AFSCME and labor-backed Nevada Republic Alliance, as well as donations from other Democratic elected officials and affiliated PACs; Joyce Woodhouse, Marilyn Dondero-Loop, Dallas Harris, Yvanna Cancela, Melanie Schieble, Attorney General Aaron Ford and even U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s federal leadership PAC.

Jauregui-Jackins reported only $4,500 in spending and has $117,500 in cash on hand.

Senate District 18

Republican incumbent Scott Hammond will compete against Democratic challenger Liz Becker in November in an effort to maintain his Senate District 18 seat. Hammond has held the seat, which represents the northwestern portion of Las Vegas, since 2012. 

Hammond has reported contributions of $25,000 in the second period of 2020 including $5,000 from the Keystone Corporation, and $2,000 each from District 22 Assemblyman Keith Pickard, the Nevada REALTORS PAC, Enterprise Holdings Inc PAC and Cox Communications. Hammond has reported $69,394 in spending, mostly on consulting and special event costs. He has a reported cash on hand of $23,383.

Becker, who dominated the Democratic primary with 88 percent of the vote, is a former teacher and environmental scientist who previously worked with Southern Nevada Water Authority. Becker has reported raising $23,501 during the three-month period including $5,000 from AFSCME, who also endorsed the candidate in her primary. 

Becker reported spending far lower than her opponent at $1,918.13 in the same period, with the majority going towards office expenses. While her contributions for the period were lower, Becker’s reported total cash on hand is higher than her opponents at $30,268.14.

Primary election turnout exceeds 480,000, sets up major races for November

After more than a week, Nevada’s unique, mostly mail 2020 primary election is finally in the books and will end as one of the highest-turnout primary elections in state history.

Final results from the state’s June 9 primary election are updated as of Thursday, ahead of the legal deadline for votes to officially be canvassed on Friday. More than 480,000 ballots were cast in the election, or around 29.5 percent of registered voters.

The long delay in reporting was a result of Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s decision to hold a mostly all-mail election in an effort to mitigate potential spread of COVID-19, with limited in-person voting sites in each county. Most voters opted to use a mail-in ballot, with only around 7,800 people opting to cast their ballot in-person.

The delay in reporting results also saw delayed victories by several legislative caucus-backed candidates who appeared behind opponents after initial results were published last week. Most notably, former Nevada State Democratic Party head Roberta Lange won a close victory over Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel in a state Senate primary, after Spiegel appeared ahead in initial results. 

But in several heated races in the state’s congressional districts, the slow count left few surprises. Republican primaries in Districts 3 and 4 were won easily by former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer and ex-Assemblyman Jim Marchant, respectively, while a competitive race among Democrats in ruby-red District 2 fell decisively to one-time legislative candidate Patricia Ackerman. 

They will now go on to face incumbents who, across the board, easily secured their own renominations. Across all four districts, only one incumbent — Democrat Steven Horsford — received less than 80 percent of the vote. 

Check out our summary below on the status of major races heading into the November general election. Full results are available here.

U.S. House

  • In District 4, former Republican Assemblyman Jim Marchant will take on incumbent Democrat Steven Horsford. Marchant emerged from a crowded primary field with 34.8 percent of the vote, while Horsford won nearly 75.1 percent in the Democratic primary. 
  • In District 3, incumbent Democrat Susie Lee will face one-time legislative candidate and ex-wrestler Dan Rodimer in the general election. Lee cruised to victory in a non-competitive primary, securing 82.7 percent of the vote, while Rodimer won 49.8 percent in a bitter, often-combative three-way Republican race. 
  • In District 2, Republican incumbent Mark Amodei also enjoyed a wide margin of victory, winning 80.8 percent of the vote. He will go on to face Democrat Patricia Ackerman, who secured 48.9 percent in a hotly contested primary. 
  • In District 1, incumbent Democrat Dina Titus also easily secured her renomination, winning more than 82.6 percent of the vote. She will go on to face Republican Joyce Bentley, who challenged and lost to Titus in the 2018 general election. Bentley emerged from a field of five Republicans with 35.7 percent of the vote. 

State Senate

  • In District 7, former Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange won this three-way Democratic primary against two current lawmakers. Lange secured 38.3 percent of the vote, followed by Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel at 36.9 percent and Assemblyman Richard Carrillo at 24.9 percent. Lange is all but guaranteed a victory in November as she faces no challengers in the general election.

State Assembly

  • In District 2, former Nevada REALTORS president Heidi Kasama won this crowded Republican primary. She secured 47.9 percent of the vote, followed by commercial real estate agent Erik Sexton with 27 percent of the vote and Jim Small, a retired member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, with 19 percent. She faces Democrat Radhika “RPK” Kunnel, a law school student and former cancer biology professor, in the general election. Kunnel won her primary with 35.9 percent of the vote over Jennie Sherwood, a journeywoman electrician, with 31.5 percent.
  • In District 4, former Republican Assemblyman Richard McArthur will face a rematch in November against Democratic Assemblywoman Connie Munk after winning his Republican primary. He defeated Donnie Gibson, the owner of a construction and equipment rental company, with 51.2 percent of votes to Gibson’s 48.9 percent.
  • In District 16, community activist Cecelia González won this four-way Democratic primary with 50.1 percent of the vote. González is likely to win the general election against the one Republican in the race, Reyna “Alex” Sajdak, because of the overwhelming voter registration advantage Democrats have in the district. 
  • In District 18, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada attorney Venicia Considine, who ran with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, won this four-way Democratic primary. She secured 39.4 percent of the vote after initially training Lisa Ortega, a master arborist and owner of Great Basin Sage Consulting, in early primary results.
  • In District 19, Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards lost his re-election bid in the primary to Mesquite City Councilwoman Annie Black. Black won with 61 percent of the vote to Edwards’ 39 percent. Black is essentially guaranteed to go on to win the general election in November, as there are no Democrats or third-party candidates in the race.
  • In District 20, UNLV law professor David Orentlicher, who was running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, won this Democratic primary with 46.5 percent of the vote after initially trailing in early results. No Republican candidates filed to run in this Paradise-area seat, meaning Orentlicher is essentially guaranteed a victory come November.
  • In District 31, former Assemblywoman Jill Dickman won this three-way Republican primary with 51 percent of the vote. She goes on to face a rematch against Democratic Assemblyman Skip Daly after losing the seat to him by fewer than 50 votes in 2016.
  • In District 36, Assemblyman Greg Hafen defeated challenger Dr. Joseph Bradley in the Republican primary in this rural Nevada Assembly district with 54.9 percent of the vote. Hafen is essentially guaranteed to go on to win the general election as no Democrats or candidates from other parties filed to run for the seat.
  • In District 37, Andy Matthews, former president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, defeated former television reporter and congressional candidate Michelle Mortensen with 49 percent of the vote. He goes on to challenge the incumbent, Democrat Shea Backus, in the general election.
  • For more information on the outcomes of primary races, check out our legislative results story.

Board of Regents

  • In District 3, Byron Brooks will face off against Swadeep Nigam in the general election. Brooks garnered 31.4 percent of the votes, while Nigam secured 23.8 percent.
  • In District 4, Patrick Boylan and Nick “Doc” Spirtos will head to the general election. Boylan captured 37.6 percent of the votes, and Spirtos received 33.3 percent.
  • In District 10, the general election will feature a contest between Kevin Melcher and Joseph Arrascada. Melcher earned 28.4 percent of the primary votes, while Arrascada garnered 21.9 percent.

State Board of Education

  • In District 1, Tim Hughes will face off against Angelo Casino in the general election. Hughes received 37.7 percent of the primary votes, while Casino captured 24 percent.
  • In District 2, Katie Coombs ran unopposed and, thus, won the election outright.
  • In District 3, incumbent Felicia Ortiz won the seat after securing 63 percent of the primary votes. If a candidate receives the majority of votes in this primary race, he or she automatically wins the seat without running in the general election.
  • In District 4, incumbent Mark Newburn will compete against Rene Cantu in the general election after a neck-and-neck primary race. Cantu captured 35.8 percent of the primary votes, while Newburn secured 35.3 percent.

Clark County School Board of Trustees

  • In District A, Lisa Guzman and Liberty Leavitt will be heading to the general election. Guzman received 26.1 percent of the primary votes, while Leavitt captured 19 percent.
  • In District B, Katie Williams will face off against Jeff Proffitt in the general election. Williams secured 23.9 percent of primary votes, while Proffitt snagged 18.7 percent.
  • In District C, Tameka Henry will compete against Evelyn Garcia Morales in the general election. After a close primary race, Henry emerged with 21.1 percent of the votes, while Garcia Morales secured 20.3 percent.
  • In District E, incumbent Lola Brooks will face challenger Alexis Salt in the general election. Brooks, who currently serves as the board president, received 21.6 percent of the primary votes, while Salt garnered 17.5 percent.

Washoe County School Board of Trustees

  • In District A, Scott Kelley will compete against Jeff Church in the general election. Kelley snagged 33.4 percent of the primary votes, while Church garnered 23 percent.
  • In District D, Kurt Thigpen became the outright winner of that seat after securing 52.9 percent of the votes. His victory comes with added significance because he will be the board’s first LGBTQ school trustee.
  • In the At-Large District G, Diane Nicolet and Craig Wesner are heading to the general election. Nicolet received 43.6 percent of the primary votes, while Wesner captured 24.5 percent.

Election results: Several caucus-backed candidates prevail in primaries; one legislator loses re-election bid

One lawmaker lost his re-election bid, while several caucus-backed candidates eked out narrow victories when the final results from the June 9 primary election trickled in on Thursday.

Final but still unofficial results updated Thursday morning show that Democratic caucus-backed Senate candidate Roberta Lange and Assembly candidates David Orentlicher and Venicia Considine won narrow victories after initially trailing in the early results. Lange and Orentlicher are guaranteed victories in November because they face no opponents in the general election, while Considine is all but guaranteed a victory in her overwhelmingly Democratic district.

The results also show Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards has lost his seat to Mesquite Councilwoman Annie Black. An incumbent losing in a legislative primary is relatively rare; only three incumbent legislators have lost their seats in a primary over the last two election cycles.

The results will become official when they are certified on Friday. Until then, here’s a look at who prevailed in each legislative primary.

State Senate District 7

Former Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange defeated Democratic Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel by a narrow 131-vote margin in this eastern Las Vegas and Henderson Senate district. Lange faces no challengers in the general election.

Lange won 38.3 percent of the vote, with Spiegel at 36.9 percent and Assemblyman Richard Carrillo with 24.9 percent. More than 9,500 votes were cast in the race.

Lange's victory represents a win for the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus, which had endorsed her. Spiegel significantly outraised both Lange and Carrillo in the race in the first quarter and had a massive war chest on hand.

Assembly District 2

Former Nevada REALTORS president Heidi Kasama won this crowded Republican primary to replace termed-out Republican Assemblyman John Hambrick with 47.9 percent of the vote. Erik Sexton, who works in commercial real estate, secured 27 percent of the vote, followed by Jim Small, a retired member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, with 19 percent.

Kasama ran with the backing of the Assembly Republican Caucus, while Sexton was endorsed by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore and former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon. Small had the support of former congressional candidate and businessman Danny Tarkanian and conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root, among others.

Kasama significantly outraised her opponents in the first quarter, and the Alliance for Property Protection Rights PAC, which is funded by the National Association of REALTORS Fund, inserted itself into the GOP primary in support of her bid.

On the Democratic side, Radhika “RPK” Kunnel, a law school student and former cancer biology professor, won the primary over Jennie Sherwood, a journeywoman electrician. Kunnel secured 35.8 percent of the vote while Sherwood won 31.5 percent. A third candidate, Eva Littman, won 23.7 percent.

Republicans have a good shot of keeping control of this seat come November, given the 2.3 percentage point voter registration advantage they hold in this district. The Assembly Democratic Caucus did not endorse a candidate in the primary.

Assembly District 4

Former Assemblyman Richard McArthur won the Republican primary in this northwest Las Vegas Assembly district with a narrow, 2.3 percentage point victory over Donnie Gibson, the owner of a construction and equipment rental company. McArthur secured 51.2 percent of votes to Gibson's 48.9 percent, a 130-vote margin.

McArthur, a former FBI special agent, has served three non-consecutive terms in the Assembly, two terms between 2008 and 2012 and one term from 2016 to 2018. Gibson, a political newcomer, was endorsed by the Assembly Republican Caucus in the primary.

McArthur will go on to a rematch against Democratic Assemblywoman Connie Munk, who did not draw a primary challenger. She narrowly defeated McArthur in 2018 with a 120-vote margin out of nearly 30,000 votes cast.

Assembly District 16

Community activist Cecelia González won this four-way Democratic primary to replace Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank, who has represented the district since 2012 and opted not to run for re-election.

González secured 50.1 percent of the vote, followed by Joe Sacco, a union trade show and conventions worker with IATSE Local 720 and a REALTOR, with 23.9 percent of the vote. Russell Davis, a two-decade Clark County employee and SEIU member, trailed with 13.7 percent of the vote, and online finance professor Geoffrey VanderPal had secured 12.4 percent of votes cast.

González and Davis had split the endorsement from major Democratic-aligned groups in the race. Both candidates were endorsed by the Nevada State AFL-CIO, while González was also endorsed by the Nevada State Education Association, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League, and Davis was endorsed by SEIU Local 110. The Assembly Democratic Caucus did not endorse in the primary.

González is likely to win the general election against the one Republican in the race, Reyna “Alex” Sajdak, because of the overwhelming voter registration advantage Democrats have in the district. 

Assembly District 18

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada attorney Venicia Considine eked out a victory over Lisa Ortega, a master arborist and owner of Great Basin Sage Consulting, in this four-way Democratic primary to replace Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, who lost a primary for state Senate.

Considine won with 39.4 percent of the vote, while Ortega secured 37.4 percent and Char Frost, a former campaign manager and legislative staffer for Carrillo, secured 15.4 percent.

Considine ran with not only with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus but SEIU Local 1107, Nevada State Education Association, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League. Considine had also raised nearly one and a half times as much as Ortega during the first quarter of the year.

Assembly District 19

Assemblyman Chris Edwards won't be returning to Carson City next year after he was defeated in the primary by Mesquite City Councilwoman Annie Black. Black won with 61 percent of the vote to Edwards' 39 percent.

Black ran to the right of the already conservative Edwards, who has served in the Assembly for the last three terms. Black's victory represents a significant upset in the race as incumbents rarely lose their primaries.

Black is essentially guaranteed to go on to win the general election in November, as there are no Democrats or third-party candidates in the race.

Assembly District 20

UNLV law professor David Orentlicher, who was running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, won this Democratic primary with 46.5 percent of the vote, defeating Emily Smith, the CEO of the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, by 7.7 percentage points. The seat is currently occupied by Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel, who lost her primary for state Senate.

Orentlicher ran with the backing of almost all of the major Democratic-aligned organizations, including the Nevada State AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 1107, the Culinary Union, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and the Nevada Conservation League. Orentlicher raised about $5,000 in the first quarter of the year and had about $23,000 in cash on hand, while Smith raised only about $1,000 and had only $700 in the bank.

No Republican candidates filed to run in this Paradise-area seat, meaning Orentlicher will be essentially guaranteed a spot in the Legislature.

Assembly District 21

Attorney Elaine Marzola won the two-way Democratic primary in this race to replace replace Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, who is running for Nevada Supreme Court.

Marzola received most of the Democratic-aligned endorsement in the primary, including from the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the Nevada State AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League. 

Her opponent, David Bagley, is the director of operations for the stem cell diagnostics company Pluripotent Diagnostics and was also Marianne Williamson’s Nevada state director for her presidential campaign last year. He ran with the support of the Nevada State Education Association.

Marzola won 70.6 percent of votes cast, with Bagley at 29.4 percent.

Marzola will go on to face Republican Cherlyn Arrington in the general election, though Democrats hold a significant voter registration advantage in the district. Fumo defeated Arrington by 12.6 percentage points in 2018.

Assembly District 26

Republican Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner successfully fended off a primary challenge from Dale Conner, obtaining more than 83.7 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for this Reno-area district.

Krasner will advance to the general election to face off against Democrat Vance Alm.

Assembly District 31

Former Assemblywoman Jill Dickman won this three-way Republican primary to represent this Sparks-area Assembly district. Dickman secured 51 percent of the vote, followed by Washoe County Republican Party treasurer Sandra Linares with 34.1 percent of the vote and businessman David Espinosa with 14.9 percent of the vote.

Dickman is hoping to reclaim the seat she held for one term and lost by fewer than 50 votes to Democratic Assemblyman Skip Daly in 2016 and again in 2018. Daly did not face any primary challengers in the race.

Assembly District 36

Assemblyman Greg Hafen defeated challenger Dr. Joseph Bradley in the Republican primary in this rural Nevada Assembly district, which covers portions of Nye, Clark and Lincoln counties. Hafen was appointed to the seat after brothel owner Dennis Hof died weeks before the election but still won the seat.

Hafen, a fifth generation Nevadan and general manager of a Pahrump water utility company, won with 54.9 percent of the vote, while Bradley earned 45.1 percent.

Hafen is essentially guaranteed to go on to win the general election as no Democrats or candidates from other parties filed to run for the seat.

Assembly District 37

Andy Matthews, former president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, has won the Republican primary in his swingy Summerlin Assembly district. Matthews secured 49 percent of the vote, while former television reporter and congressional candidate Michelle Mortensen won 26.3 percent.

Matthews secured a long list of endorsements in the primary, including from former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, several Trump campaign officials including Corey Lewandowski, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore and several current and former state lawmakers. He also was a top legislative fundraiser in the primary, outraising all other Republican Assembly candidates, including current office holders.

Matthews will go on to challenge the incumbent, Democrat Shea Backus, who won the seat from Republican Assemblyman Jim Marchant by 135 votes in 2018. Democrats hold a narrow 2.2 percentage point voter registration advantage in the district, making it one of the swingiest Assembly seats this election cycle.

Assembly District 40

Former law enforcement officer and one-term Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill appears to be heading back to the Legislature in this heavily-Republican Assembly district after defeating his lone Republican primary opponent, attorney Day Williams.

O’Neill filed to run for the Carson City-area seat on the last day of filing, after incumbent Al Kramer announced he would not run again due to family reasons. O’Neill served one term in the Assembly between 2014 and 2016, but lost to Kramer amid a backlash against Republican candidates who supported former Gov. Brian Sandoval’s large K-12 focused tax increase in 2015.

O’Neill won 54.2 percent of the vote, while Williams won 45.8 percent. O'Neill will go onto face Democrat Sena Loyd in the general election.

Updated 6-10-20 at 6:52 p.m. to correct that Assembly District 20 is primarily in Paradise, not Henderson.

Election results: Rodimer, Marchant lead in congressional primaries; several caucus-backed candidates trail in legislative races

Former professional wrestler “Big Dan” Rodimer and former Assemblyman Jim Marchant were leading in two closely watched and hotly contested Republican congressional primaries as of Wednesday morning, though the fate of neither race is sealed with results from the mostly-mail election scheduled to trickle in over the next week and a half.

Early primary results also pointed to possible upsets in several legislative primaries, over both candidates supported by the legislative caucuses and, in one instance, an incumbent. Former Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange, who was running with the blessing of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is trailing Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel, while Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards could be soon out of a job with Mesquite City Councilwoman Annie Black leading in her primary challenge against him.

State and county election officials posted preliminary results from the primary early Wednesday morning after long lines and lengthy wait times at limited in-person voting centers in Washoe and Clark counties held up the release of the results long after polls closed at 7 p.m. Election officials will not begin posting vote tallies until every voter in line has cast a ballot.

About 137,000 ballots in Clark County have been tallied, or approximately half of those cast in the mostly mail balloting and half of those statewide.

In Clark County, many voters arriving shortly before the 7 p.m. cutoff waited in line for up to five or six hours hours before being able to cast a ballot. The final voter — an Elvis impersonator — finished casting their ballot in Clark County around 3:09 a.m.

The state shifted to a mostly-mail primary election back in March with limited in-person voting sites amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But Tuesday’s results aren’t the end of the process. Because mailed ballots can be counted up to 10 days after the election as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday, state officials will regularly publish updated results beginning on Thursday and until election results are certified on June 19.

Here are some of the partial results:

Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District

”Big Dan” Rodimer has a 10 point lead over former Treasurer Dan Schwartz in the GOP primary in this swingy, suburban congressional district represented by Democratic Rep. Susie Lee. As of Wednesday morning, Rodimer had secured 43.5 percent of the vote, while Schwartz had captured 32.6. Mindy Robinson, a pro-Trump political commentator, actress, and reality TV personality, trails in the race at 13.4 percent.

Lee appears to have easily cleared two Democratic primary challengers, leading with a wide 74.3-point margin.

Nevada’s 4th Congressional District

Former Assemblyman Jim Marchant has a 3.9 percentage point lead over Sam Peters, a veteran and insurance agent, in this crowded Republican primary to challenge Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in November. Marchant leads with 33.5 percent of the votes, followed by Peters with 29.6 percent and former Miss Nevada and small business owner Lisa Song Sutton with 13.3 percent.

Three additional candidates are trailing further behind in the race. Small business owner Rebecca Wood has 6.4 percent of the vote, former congressional staffer Charles Navarro has 6.3 percent and Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo has 5.3 percent. Entrepreneur Rosalie Bingham has 3.1 percent of the vote, while businesswoman Randi Reed has another 2.5 percent.

Horsford appears to have won his Democratic primary, where he faced five challengers. As of Wednesday morning, he leads with a wide 64.9-point margin.

Other Congressional Districts

In Nevada’s 1st Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus appears to have won her Democratic primary, where she faced two challengers. As of Wednesday morning, she had secured 86.4 percent of the vote. Republican Joyce Bentley leads in the GOP primary by 7.7 percentage points. However, because of the overwhelming Democratic voter registration advantage in the district, Titus is likely to easily win re-election in November.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei also appears to have easily won the GOP primary in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, where he faced two challengers. He led with 81.3 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning. 

Patricia Ackerman, a former independent undercover FBI agent, actress, small business owner and Democratic hopeful, leads in the Democratic primary in the district over Clint Koble, former state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, by 27.2 percentage points as of Wednesday morning. Ackerman has 49.4 percent of votes, followed by Koble at 22.2 percent.

State Senate District 7

Democratic Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel holds a 7.5 percentage point lead over former Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange in the race to represent this eastern Las Vegas and Henderson Senate district. As of Wednesday morning, Spiegel had secured 40.3 percent of the vote, followed by Lange at 32.7 percent and Assemblyman Richard Carrillo with 27 percent.

If Spiegel wins the race, it will represent a significant upset for the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus, which had endorsed Lange. Spiegel significantly outraised both Lange and Carrillo in the race in the first quarter and had a massive war chest on hand.

Assembly District 2

Heidi Kasama, managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Nevada Properties, is leading in this crowded Republican primary to replace longtime Republican Assemblyman John Hambrick with 48.1 percent of the vote, or a 24.7 percent point lead, as of Wednesday morning. Erik Sexton, who works in commercial real estate, trails with 23.3 percent of the vote, followed by Jim Small, a retired member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, with 20.1 percent.

Kasama is running with the backing of the Assembly Republican Caucus, while Sexton was endorsed by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore and former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon. Small had the support of former congressional candidate and businessman Danny Tarkanian and conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root, among others.

Kasama significantly outraised her opponents in the first quarter, and the Alliance for Property Protection Rights PAC, which is funded by the National Association of REALTORS Fund, inserted itself into the GOP primary in support of her bid.

On the Democratic side, Jennie Sherwood, a journeywoman electrician, holds a narrow, 4 percentage point lead over Radhika “RPK” Kunnel, a law school student and former cancer biology professor. As of Wednesday morning, Sherwood had secured 34.3 percent of the vote, Kunnel had 30.3 percent and Democrat Eva Littman, had 25 percent.

Republicans have a good shot of keeping control of this seat come November, given the 2.3 percentage point voter registration advantage they hold in this district. The Assembly Democratic Caucus did not endorse in the primary.

Assembly District 4

Former Assemblyman Richard McArthur holds a 9.7 percentage point lead over Donnie Gibson, the owner of both a construction and equipment rental company in the GOP primary in this northwest Las Vegas Assembly district. As of Wednesday morning, McArthur had 54.9 percent of the vote to Gibson’s 45.1 percent.

McArthur, a former FBI special agent, has served three non-consecutive terms in the Assembly, two terms between 2008 and 2012 and one term from 2016 to 2018. Gibson, however, ran with the backing of the Assembly Republican Caucus in the primary.

The winner of the Republican primary will go on to face Democratic Assemblywoman Connie Munk, who did not draw a primary challenger. She won against McArthur in 2018 with a 120-vote margin out of nearly 30,000 votes cast.

Assembly District 16

Community activist Cecelia González is leading in this four-way Democratic primary to replace Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank, who has represented the district since 2012 and opted not to run for re-election.

As of Wednesday morning, González had secured 47.5 percent of the vote, followed by Joe Sacco, a union trade show and conventions worker with IATSE Local 720 and a REALTOR, with 22.6 percent of the vote. Russell Davis, a two-decade Clark County employee and SEIU member, and online finance professor Geoffrey VanderPal trailed with 17.1 percent and 12.7 percent of the vote, respectively.

González and Davis had split the endorsement from major Democratic-aligned groups in the race. Both candidates were endorsed by the Nevada State AFL-CIO, while González was also endorsed by the Nevada State Education Association, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League, and Davis was endorsed by SEIU Local 110. The Assembly Democratic Caucus did not endorse in the primary.

The winner of the Democratic primary will likely go on to win the general election against the one Republican in the race, Reyna “Alex” Sajdak, because of the overwhelming voter registration advantage Democrats have in the district. 

Assembly District 18

Lisa Ortega, a master arborist and owner of Great Basin Sage Consulting, is leading in this four-way Democratic primary to replace Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, who is running for state Senate.

As of Wednesday morning, Ortega lead with 42.1 percent of the vote, followed by Venicia Considine, an attorney with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, with 36.5 percent of the vote and Char Frost, a former campaign manager and legislative staffer for Carrillo, with 14.8 percent of the vote.

If Ortega wins, it will be a significant upset over Considine, who was running not only with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus but SEIU Local 1107, Nevada State Education Association, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League. Considine had also raised nearly one and a half times as much as Ortega during the first quarter of the year.

Assembly District 19

Assemblyman Chris Edwards may be heading for defeat as Mesquite City Councilwoman Annie Black leads by a substantial 15.5 percentage points in her primary challenge against him. As of Wednesday morning, Black had 57.7 percent of the vote to Edwards’ 42.3 percent.

Black has been running to the right of the already conservative Edwards, who has served in the Assembly for three terms. A victory by Black would represent a significant upset in the race.

Whoever wins the primary will go on to win the general election in November, as there are no Democrats or third-party candidates in the race.

Assembly District 20

UNLV law professor David Orentlicher, who was running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, is trailing Emily Smith, the CEO of the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, in the Democratic primary in this race to replace Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel, who is running for state Senate.

As of Wednesday morning, Smith had 43.2 percent of the vote, while Orentlicher had 39.8 percent. Orentlicher raised about $5,000 in the first quarter of the year and had about $23,000 in cash on hand, while Smith raised only about $1,000 and had only $700 in the bank.

If Smith wins, it will be a significant upset over Orentlicher, who ran with the backing of almost all of the major Democratic-aligned organizations, including the Nevada State AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 1107, the Culinary Union, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and the Nevada Conservation League.

Assembly District 21

Attorney Elaine Marzola is leading with 43.6 percentage points over David Bagley, the director of operations for the stem cell diagnostics company Pluripotent Diagnostics and was also Marianne Williamson’s Nevada state director for her presidential campaign last year, in this Democratic primary to replace Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, who is running for Nevada Supreme Court.

Marzola received most of the Democratic-aligned endorsement in the primary, including from the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the Nevada State AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League. Bagley ran with the support of the Nevada State Education Association.

The winner of the primary will go on to face Republican Cherlyn Arrington in the general election, though Democrats hold a significant voter registration advantage in the district. Fumo defeated Arrington by 12.6 percentage points in 2018.

Assembly District 31

Former Assemblywoman Jill Dickman leads by 21.9 percentage points in a three-way Republican primary to represent this Northern Nevada Assembly district. As of Wednesday morning, Dickman had 53.8 percent of the vote, followed by Washoe County Republican Party treasurer Sandra Linares with 31.9 percent of the vote.

Dickman is hoping to reclaim the seat she held for one term and lost by fewer than 50 votes to Democratic Assemblyman Skip Daly in 2016. Daly did not face any primary challengers in the race.

Assembly District 36

Assemblyman Greg Hafen holds a narrow lead over challenger Dr. Joseph Bradley in the Republican primary in this rural Nevada Assembly district. Hafen was appointed to the seat after brothel owner Dennis Hof died weeks before the election but still won the seat.

Hafen, a fifth generation Nevadan and general manager of a Pahrump water utility company, had 52.6 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning, while Bradley had 47.4 percent.

The winner of the primary is essentially guaranteed to go on to win the general election as no Democrats or candidates from other parties filed to run for the seat.

Assembly District 37

Andy Matthews, former president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, holds a significant 18.3 percentage point lead over former television reporter and congressional candidate Michelle Mortensen in the GOP primary in this swingy Summerlin Assembly district. As of Wednesday morning, Matthews had 47.1 percent of the vote, while Mortensen had 28.8 percent.

Matthews secured a long list of endorsements in the primary, including from former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, several Trump campaign officials including Corey Lewandowski, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore and several current and former state lawmakers. He also was a top legislative fundraiser in the primary, outraising all other Republican Assembly candidates, including current office holders.

The winner of the primary will go on to challenge the incumbent, Democrat Shea Backus, who won the seat from Republican Assemblyman Jim Marchant by 135 votes in 2018. Democrats hold a narrow 2.2 percentage point voter registration advantage in the district, making it one of the swingiest Assembly seats this election cycle.

Nevada Supreme Court

District Judge Doug Herndon has a 10,000-vote lead over Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo in a state Supreme Court race, but appears unlikely to get more than 50 percent to end the race in the primary.

Incumbent Kristina Pickering is far ahead of her competitors, with 58 percent of the vote compared with 20 percent for Esther Rodriguez.

Clark County Commission

Assemblyman William McCurdy has a massive lead in a crowded Democratic field seeking to succeed Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly in District D. Trailing McCurdy are Tanya Flanagan, then North Las Vegas City Councilman Isaac Barron and state Sen. Mo Denis, who has just under 10 percent of the vote.

Former Secretary of State Ross Miller has a commanding lead in the race to replace termed-out Commissioner Larry Brown. Miller has about 43 percent of the vote, far ahead of his next closest competitor, Hunter Cain, who has 18 percent of the vote.

Reno City Council

  • Councilman Devon Reese, who is seeking to retain an at-large seat for which all Reno voters have a say, has nearly 15,000 votes and is far ahead of challenger Eddie Lorton who has close to 10,000 votes.
  • Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus is about 800 votes ahead of challenger J.D. Drakulich in a race for a seat representing Ward 1. In third place is Britton Griffith, who was endorsed by Mayor Hillary Schieve but has less than half the votes of Brekhus.
  • Councilwoman Neoma Jardon has a wide lead over three opponents in the race for the Ward 5 seat.

Sparks City Council

  • Incumbent Donald Abbott has the lead in the race for Ward 1, with 735 votes, several hundred ahead of his next closest competitor, Wendy Stolyarov.
  • Appointed incumbent Paul Anderson has a clear lead in the race to retain his Ward 3 seat. His more than 1,300 votes put him far ahead of his next closest competitor, activist Elvira Diaz, who has 470 votes.

Clark County School Board

  • In District A, Lisa Guzman leads with 27 percent of the vote, followed by Liberty Leavitt with 18 percent.
  • In District B, Katie Williams — a candidate who garnered attention as an outspoken conservative who resisted social distancing guidance early in the pandemic — leads with 27 percent of the vote. Union business manager Jeff Proffitt is in second place with nearly 18 percent.
  • In District C, Barbara Dreyer is ahead with 22 percent of the vote, with Evelyn Garcia Morales in a close second with about 20 percent of the vote.
  • In District E, incumbent Lola Brooks has a modest lead with 22 percent of the vote, ahead of her next closest competitor, Christopher Craig, who has about 16 percent.

Washoe County School Board

  • Incumbent Scott Kelley has the advantage in the race to keep his District A seat, with about 5,300 votes, Challengers Jeff Church and Lisa Genasci are in a close race for second place.
  • Kurt Thigpen is dominating in the race for District D. With more than 6,200 votes, he is well ahead of his next closest competitor Stan Berk, who has about 3,300 votes.
  • Diane Nicolet has nearly double the vote count of her next closest competitor in the at-large District G seat. Her more than 14,000 votes put her far ahead of Craig Wesner, who is in second place with close to 8,000 votes.

Board of Regents

  • Former Regent Kevin Melcher has nearly 30 percent of the vote in the District 10 seat centered in Reno, while Joseph Arrascada is in second place with about 22 percent of the vote. Vince Lombardi and Andrew Diss are in third and fourth, respectively.
  • Patrick Boylan has 37 percent of the vote compared with Kevin Child’s 32 percent in the race for Southern Nevada’s District 5, a seat left open after the death of Regent Sam Lieberman this spring.
  • Byron Brooks holds a wide lead in the race for Southern Nevada’s District 3, with nearly 35 percent of the vote. Lachelle Fisher is in second with 23 percent, and former Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus is in third with 22 percent.

Nevada State Board of Education

  • District 3 incumbent Felicia Ortiz has 61 percent of the vote, a wide lead over her next-closest competitor, Bruce James-Newman, who has 27 percent.
  • District 4 incumbent Mark Newburn is in a tight race with Rene Cantu. Newburn has 38 percent, compared with 37 percent for Cantu.
  • Katie Coombs had no competitors in her race for Northern Nevada’s District 2 seat.
  • In Southern Nevada’s District 1, Tim Hughes has 37 percent compared with 23 percent for Angelo Casino.

Douglas County Commission

  • Incumbent Dave Nelson is locked in a tight race with challenger Danny Tarkanian for the District 1 Republican primary. Nelson is ahead by 30 votes of the nearly 11,000 counted so far.
  • Mark Gardner leads Larry Walsh by more than 2,000 votes in the District 3 race.
  • Walt Nowosad is ahead of Nathan Tolbert by several hundred votes in District 5.

Carson City Mayor & Supervisors

  • Lori Bagwell has a commanding lead in her race for mayor, with 52 percent of the vote. Jim Shirk is in second, with 22 percent of the vote.
  • It’s a close three-way race for Ward 2 supervisor. Maurice “Mo” White has 33 percent of the vote, compared with Stacie Wilke-McCulloch’s 31 percent and Ronni Hannaman’s 30 percent.
  • Lisa Schuette ran away with the Ward 4 supervisor race, garnering 67 percent of the vote compared to 18 percent for second place competitor Ronald Bratsch.

More results here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

What to watch in Nevada’s 2020 primary election

The first results from Nevada’s unique, mostly mail primary election will finally be released on Tuesday after more than a month of voting, but calling some of the state’s top races could take up to 10 days. 

A substantial number of high-profile races will eventually be decided out of Tuesday’s election, including Republican challengers to Democratic Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, both who represent swing districts and have attracted a broad field of GOP candidates.

But congressional races aside, several major legislative races will be decided in the primary election, and two state Supreme Court seats could also be decided if candidates achieve more than 50 percent of the vote. Other major races include contests for seats on the Clark County Commission and a hotly contested Reno City Council race.

Polls will close at 7 p.m. on Election Night, with counties expected to turn in their initial vote totals to the state by about 8:30 p.m.

As of Monday, more than 343,000 people had cast a ballot for the primary election, or about 18.7 percent of all registered voters. The vast majority of ballots have been cast by mail (339,853), while around 2,971 people have cast a ballot through in-person early voting.

The change in process is likely to help contribute to a higher turnout than most primary elections. The 2018 primary election saw about 22.9 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, for a total turnout of 329,863. 

But the switch to a primarily mail-only election has a drawback: potential delays in determining the winners of close election contests. Ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by election officials within seven days will be counted, and county election officials have 10 days to certify the results of an election and declare a winner.

Below, check out The Nevada Independent’s preview of the major races up on Election Night. Editors Jon Ralston and Elizabeth Thompson will host a live election show beginning at 7:30 p.m., which can be viewed here.

The Washoe County Registrar of Voters on June 8, 2020. Photo by David Calvert.

NEVADA SUPREME COURT: Two seats are on the ballot: Chief Justice Kristina Pickering is defending her seat amid challenges from lawyers Esther Rodriguez and Thomas Christensen. And in the open seat held by Mark Gibbons, Judge Douglas Herndon faces off against lawyers Erv Nelson and Ozzie Fumo, the latter of whom is a sitting Assembly member.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2: Several Democrats including Clint Koble, who ran unsuccessfully in 2018, are vying for the nomination and chance to face off with Republican Rep. Mark Amodei. The district is safely Republican, meaning even the winner of the Democratic primary enters a long-shot general election contest. Read our preview here.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 3: A feisty Republican primary is playing out in this swingy Southern Nevada district held by Democratic Rep. Susie Lee. The GOP field includes former wrestler Dan Rodimer, former state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and pro-Trump actress Mindy Robinson. Read our preview here.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 4: A parade of Republicans is vying to face off with Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in a district that includes North Las Vegas and rural, central Nevada. GOP contenders include businesswoman Lisa Song Sutton, former Assemblyman Jim Marchant and Nye County Commissioner Leonardo Blundo, among others. Read our preview here.

REGENTS: Four of the 13 nonpartisan seats on the board overseeing the Nevada System of Higher Education are up for grabs, and the primary will narrow the field of candidates to two. One district features former Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus and former state Senate candidate Byron Brooks; another pits former regent Bret Whipple against former Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian. Read our preview here.

ASSEMBLY: Democrats are all but guaranteed to retain their majority heading into the 2021 legislative session, but the question is whether Republicans can score enough seats to get out of a weak “superminority” status, in which Democrats can pass taxes without a single GOP vote. The most interesting contests include primaries in swingy suburban districts. Read our preview here.

SENATE: One race for state Senate will be decided in the primary — Senate District 7, a seat held by termed-out Democrat David Parks. The Democratic primary pits two Assembly members — Ellen Spiegel and Richard Carrillo — against former Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange, who has the endorsement of state Senate Democrats. Read our preview here.

CLARK COUNTY COMMISSION: Four seats are up for grabs on the powerful Clark County Commission, including incumbents Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Michael Naft running for additional terms. Crowded Democratic primaries in seats held by termed-out Commissioners Lawrence Weekly and Larry Brown have drawn some familiar names, including former Secretary of State Ross Miller (District C) and Assemblyman William McCurdy, state Sen. Mo Denis and North Las Vegas City Councilman Isaac Barron (District D). Read our preview here.

RENO CITY COUNCIL: Four councilmembers are running for re-election in 2020, including Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus who is in a bitter fight with two well-funded opponents, including one endorsed by Mayor Hillary Schieve. Council members Devon Reese, Neoma Jardon and Oscar Delgado are also running for re-election. Read our preview here.

SPARKS CITY COUNCIL: Three seats on the Sparks City Council have attracted 10 candidates, with each race seeing well-funded incumbents try to fend off multiple opponents. Read our preview here.

CARSON CITY MAYOR & SUPERVISORS: Longtime Mayor Bob Crowell is termed out, and with two incumbents not running for re-election, the Carson City Board of Supervisors will have three new faces come 2021. Read our preview here.

DOUGLAS COUNTY COMMISSION: Three of the five seats on the Douglas County Commission are on the ballot, and they’ll be all but decided in the primary because no Democrats filed for the seats. One race features Danny Tarkanian, who has run unsuccessfully for major offices in Southern Nevada before moving north, against incumbent Dave Nelson. Read our preview here

WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Fifteen candidates have filed to run in the four seats up for election for the board overseeing the state’s second-largest school district, including incumbents Scott Kelley and Angela Taylor. Read our preview here.

CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Thirty candidates are competing for four nonpartisan seats on the board that governs the nation’s fifth largest school district. Three seats are open after trustees termed out; in a fourth, Trustee Lola Brooks is seeking reelection. The primary will narrow the field to the top two, although a candidate who wins more than 50 percent of the vote wins outright. Read our preview here.

NEVADA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: The four elected positions on the 11-member board that works in tandem with the state Department of Education are up for grabs. Felicia Ortiz and Mark Newburn are defending their seats, while five candidates are vying for a spot representing a Las Vegas district and a lone candidate — Katie Coombs — is seeking a seat in a Northern Nevada district. Read our preview here.

JUDGES: Numerous judge positions are on the ballot, including District Court and Family Court hopefuls. Read our guide on Clark County judge races here.

What to watch in the 2020 primary election: Assembly and state Senate races

The inside of the Nevada Legislature during State of the State

When the dust settles on the June 9 primary election, Nevadans will have a good sense of who’s going to win about half of the seats up for grabs in the statehouse.

Party control of the Legislature is always a major objective for lawmakers in both parties, and the 2021 session will give lawmakers and Gov. Steve Sisolak the once-in-a-decade chance to redraw district boundaries during the redistricting process. 

It’s a process that could help lock in party advantages for congressional representatives, legislators and other elected officials for the next ten years (although a group is attempting to qualify a constitutional amendment creating an independent redistricting commission). Democrats control more than two-thirds of Assembly seats and are one seat shy of a supermajority in the state Senate. 

But candidates facing a massive variable — a global pandemic that has canceled the traditional trappings of a campaign, diverted attention from elections and spurred a shift to a virtually all-mail voting system with unpredictable turnout patterns.

“Under normal circumstances, a good pair of running shoes and the money to print up campaign literature could potentially be enough for a candidate to win a race simply by outworking their opponent,” said Eric Roberts of the Assembly Republican Caucus. “The old saying goes, ‘If you knock, you win.’ In 2020, that is all out the window.”

Largely unable to talk to voters at the door during the crucial weeks leading up to voting season, candidates can communicate through mail pieces — if they can drum up the money to pay for it. Businesses such as casinos that typically make sizable donations in state-level politics have seen their revenue flatline, and the effect ripples to candidates.

There are phone calls, political text messages and email missives. But what some observers think could make a difference is how well candidates leverage social media and digital advertising. 

A new challenge is the sudden shift to voting by mail. Up to this point, voting in person has been the method of choice for Nevadans, with the majority of those voters opting for a two-week early vote window.

This time, voters are receiving ballots in the mail more than a month before Election Day, elongating the voting period. With weeks left to go, tens of thousands of Clark County voters have already turned in their ballots, for example.

With ballots arriving in all active voters’ mailboxes — and in Clark County, even those deemed inactive — more people may be inclined to participate in what is usually a sleepy contest. Nevada and national Democrats filed but later dropped a lawsuit against state election officials after they agreed to send ballots to “inactive” voters, who are legally able to cast a ballot but have not responded to change of address forms sent out by county election officials.

“Truly the unknown is this vote by mail universe and who’s really going to take advantage of it, who does it leave out, how do you communicate to a universe that is 10 times bigger than what you thought you were going to have to communicate with,” said Megan Jones, a political consultant with close ties to Assembly Democrats. 

Of the 42 seats in the state Assembly, almost a quarter will be decided in the primary election. Four races will actually be decided in the primary — including three incumbent Republicans fending off challengers — because no other candidates filed to run in those districts. Another five races will effectively be decided in the primary, given vast disparity in voter registration totals making it all but impossible for the opposing party to gain a foothold. 

An additional seven Assembly members did not draw a re-election challenge and will win their seats automatically. These include Democrats Daniele Monroe Moreno, Selena Torres and Sarah Peters, and Republicans Tom Roberts, Melissa Hardy, Jill Tolles and John Ellison.

Of the 10 races in the state Senate, only one — the Democratic primary in Senate District 7 — will be determined in the primary election as no candidates from other parties filed to run for the seat. Two Senate members — Democrats Chris Brooks and Patricia Spearman — did not draw challengers and will automatically win their seats as well, while another three candidates have effectively won because of the voter registration advantages their party has in their district.

To help make sense of where the most intriguing races of this election will be, The Nevada Independent has compiled this list of races we’re keeping a close eye on, both for the storylines in the individual contests and how the outcomes could shift the balance of power heading into the critical 2021 legislative session. Additional information on these races and more can be found on The Nevada Independent’s Election 2020 page.

Senate District 7

This race is at the top of our watch list not only because it will be decided in the primary — all Democrats and no Republicans filed to run for the open seat — but because it pits two Assembly members against a former head of the state Democratic Party who has the support of the sitting Senate Democrats.

Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel has a wide lead in the money race for the seat, which is held by termed-out Democratic Sen. David Parks. Stakes are high for the two Assembly members in the race, who are giving up their current seats to bid for the Senate seat.

Spiegel raised nearly $32,000 in the first quarter, twice that of former three-term Nevada State Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange, a Senate caucus-endorsed candidate perhaps best known for presiding over Democrats’ divisive 2016 presidential nominating process. Spiegel spent even more — $36,000 in the last quarter — and has a massive war chest of $208,000 on hand.

Spiegel, who describes herself as an “e-commerce pioneer” and now owns a consulting firm with her husband, chaired the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee last session. She has endorsements from the Vegas and Henderson chambers of commerce. 

Lange, a retired teacher and union negotiator and now executive at a company that runs neighborhood gaming bars, has backing from the Senate Democratic Caucus, the Nevada State AFL-CIO, the Nevada State Education Association and the Culinary Union.

Trailing in the money game is Democratic Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, who only raised about $4,500 in the latest quarter. He’s spent nearly $16,000 in that timeframe and has about $26,000 in the bank.

Carrillo, a contractor who owns an air conditioning business, did not chair an Assembly committee last session and shares the AFL-CIO endorsement with Lange.

The district includes portions of the eastern Las Vegas Valley and Henderson. It has almost twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans.

Assembly District 2

Republicans are looking to keep control of this Summerlin Assembly seat this election after Assemblyman John Hambrick, who has represented the district since 2008, was termed out of office. Hambrick, 74, missed most of the 2019 legislative session because of health-related issues with both himself and his wife, who passed away in July.

The Assembly Republican Caucus has endorsed Heidi Kasama, managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Nevada Properties, as Hambrick’s successor, as has Hambrick himself. Kasama has lived in Las Vegas since 2002 after starting her career as a certified public accountant and real estate agent in Washington. So far, Kasama has raised about $124,000 and spent about $19,000.

But Kasama faces four other Republicans in the primary: Erik Sexton, Jim Small, Taylor McArthur and Christian Morehead. Of those, Sexton, who works in commercial real estate, has raised the most, about $69,000 over the course of the cycle. Sexton has been endorsed by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore and former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon.

Jim Small, a retired member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, has raised about $56,000 over the course of the cycle. Small has been endorsed by former congressional candidate and businessman Danny Tarkanian and conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root, among others.

The other two Republican candidates in the race — McArthur and Morehead — have raised no money.

The Alliance for Property Protection Rights PAC, which is funded by the National Association of REALTORS Fund, has also inserted itself into this primary, sending negative mailers highlighting Sexton’s DUI arrest last year and accusing Small of having a “hidden past” as a “liberal Democrat,” while in other mail pieces boosting Kasama’s “strength,” “courage,” and “optimism.”

Meanwhile, both Sexton and Small have been punching back at Kasama for her ties to the REALTORS in other mail pieces. 

In one, Small argues that Kasama financially supports Democrats because the Nevada Association of REALTORS donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates in 2018, the year she was president of the association. In another, Sexton criticizes the National Association of REALTORS’ budget, which was created when Kasama served on the association’s finance committee. 

Whoever wins the Republican primary will have a good shot at winning this lean Republican seat, where 37 percent of voters are Republican and 34.7 percent are Democratic. The Assembly Democratic Caucus has not endorsed in the primary, though journeywoman electrician Jennie Sherwood was backed by the caucus in the general election last year and is running again this cycle. Three other Democrats are also running for the seat: law school student and former cancer biology professor Radhika Kunnel, Eva Littman and Joe Valdes.

Of the four candidates, Kunnel has raised the most, about $27,000 between this year and last year, while Littman has loaned herself $25,000, Sherwood has loaned herself $5,000 and Valdes has raised $100.

A tenth candidate in the race, Garrett LeDuff, is running with no political party and has raised no money so far in his race.

Assembly District 4

The Nevada Assembly Republican caucus is looking to win back this swing seat lost to Democrats last election cycle by backing a political newcomer, Donnie Gibson, who will first have to defeat a primary challenge from former office-holder Richard McArthur.

Officially backed by the Assembly Republican caucus, Gibson is the owner of both a construction and equipment rental company, and sits on the board of several industry groups, including the Nevada Contractors Association and Hope for Prisoners. During the first quarterly fundraising period, he reported raising just over $51,000 and has nearly $86,000 in cash on hand.

But Gibson faces a tough challenger in former Assemblyman McArthur, who has served three non-consecutive terms in the Assembly; two terms between 2008 to 2012, and then one term between 2016 and 2018. He raised just $520 during the first fundraising period, but has more than $28,000 in available campaign funds. McArthur previously served with the U.S. Air Force and was a special agent for the FBI for 25 years.

Democratic incumbent Connie Munk did not draw a primary challenger, and reported raising more than $52,000 during the first fundraising period. Munk flipped the seat to Democrats in 2018, defeating McArthur by a 120-vote margin out of nearly 30,000 votes cast. 

Assembly District 7

Democrat Cameron “CH” Miller, who most recently served as Nevada political director for Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaigns and has had a 20 year career in the entertainment industry, is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus for this North Las Vegas Assembly district. The seat is held by Assemblywoman Dina Neal, who is running for state Senate.

While Miller has been endorsed by most of the Democratic-aligned organizations — including SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada State Education Association, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and the Nevada Conservation League — his one primary opponent, John Stephens III, has been endorsed by the Nevada State AFL-CIO.

Stephens is a former civilian employee of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, former steward for the Teamsters Local 14 and a self-described political scientist, writer, exhibitor and Las Vegas library employee.

Miller has raised about $21,000 so far in his campaign, while Stephens has not reported raising any money.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary is likely to go on to win the general election against the one Republican candidate in the race, former Virginia Beach police officer Tony Palmer, as the district leans heavily Democratic with 54.3 percent registered Democrats, 22.7 percent nonpartisans and only 18 percent Republicans. Palmer has raised about $2,000, mostly from himself, in his bid.

Assembly District 16

Four Democratic candidates are running in this open seat after Assemblywoman Heidi Swank, who has represented the district since 2012, opted not to run for re-election. 

The Assembly Democratic Caucus has not endorsed any candidate in the race. Cecelia González and Russell Davis have so far split the major endorsements from Democratic-aligned groups. Both candidates were endorsed by the Nevada State AFL-CIO, while González was also endorsed by the Nevada State Education Association, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League, and Davis was endorsed by SEIU Local 1107. 

González, a community activist who plans to begin a doctoral program in multicultural education at UNLV in the fall, has raised a little more than $5,000 in her campaign, while Davis, a two-decade Clark County employee and SEIU member, hasn’t reported raising any money.

A third candidate in the race, online finance professor Geoffrey VanderPal, has loaned himself a little less than $4,000 in the race, while Joe Sacco, a union trade show and conventions worker with IATSE Local 720 and a REALTOR, has raised about $500.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary is likely to win the general election against the one Republican in the race, Reyna “Alex” Sajdak, as Democrats have an overwhelming voter registration advantage in the district, representing 47.1 percent of all voters. Nonpartisans make up another 27.3 percent, while Republicans represent only about 18.2 percent.

Sajdak has loaned herself only $260 in the race and received no other contributions.

Assembly District 18

Assemblyman Richard Carrillo has opted not to run for re-election to this East Las Vegas Assembly seat, which he has represented since 2010. He is running for state Senate.

Venicia Considine, an attorney with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus for the seat and has been endorsed by SEIU Local 1107, Nevada State Education Association, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League.

However, she faces three other Democrats in the primary, including Char Frost, a former campaign manager and legislative staffer for Carrillo; Lisa Ortega, a master arborist and owner of Great Basin Sage Consulting; and Clarence Dortch, a teacher in the Clark County School District.

Considine has raised nearly $24,000 in her bid so far, while Ortega has raised a little less than $17,000 and Frost has raised about $8,000. Dortch has not yet reported raising any money.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will go on to face Republican Heather Florian in the general election, though they are likely to win as Democrats hold a 24-point voter registration advantage over Republicans in the district. Florian has not yet reported raising any money in the race.

Assembly District 19

Assemblyman Chris Edwards is running for a fourth term in this rural Clark County Assembly district, but he faces a challenge from Mesquite City Councilwoman Annie Black, who is running to the right of the already conservative Edwards. Black most recently ran for Nevada Republican Party chair, losing to incumbent Michael McDonald.

So far, Edwards has raised about $17,000 in his re-election bid, to Black’s $2,600, which includes a $1,000 contribution from Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman and a $500 contribution from former Controller Ron Knecht.

Whoever wins this primary will go on to win the general election in November, as there are no Democrats or third-party candidates in the race.

Assembly District 21

Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, who has represented this seat since 2016, is not seeking re-election this year and is running for the Nevada Supreme Court. The Assembly Democratic Caucus has endorsed attorney Elaine Marzola to replace him.

Marzola has received most of the Democratic-aligned endorsements in the primary, including from the Nevada State AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the Culinary Union and the Nevada Conservation League, while her one Democratic opponent in the primary, David Bagley, has the backing of the Nevada State Education Association. 

Bagley is the director of operations for the stem cell diagnostics company Pluripotent Diagnostics and was also Marianne Williamson’s Nevada state director for her presidential campaign last year.

Marzola has raised about $44,000 in her race so far, while Bagley has raised $20,000 in in-kind contributions from himself.

The winner of the Democratic primary will go on to face Republican Cherlyn Arrington in the general election. Arrington ran for the seat in 2018, losing to Fumo by 12.6 percentage points. Democrats have an 8 percentage point voter registration advantage in the district over Republicans. Arrington has raised a little less than $15,000 so far, including a $4,000 contribution from herself.

Assembly District 31

Former Republican Assemblywoman Jill Dickman hopes to reclaim a seat she held for one term and lost by fewer than 50 votes in 2016. But the manufacturing business owner is in a three-way primary, most notably with Washoe County Republican Party treasurer Sandra Linares. 

The Washoe County seat is held by Skip Daly, a four-term Assembly member who works as the business manager for Laborers Local 169 and has several notable endorsements from organized labor groups, including the Nevada State AFL-CIO and the Culinary Union.

Republicans have a registration advantage of more than four percentage points, but nonpartisans also make up about 21 percent of the swingy district.

Dickman raised just $116 in the first quarter of the year but has more than $99,000 cash on hand for the race. Linares, an educator and Air Force veteran, reported raising more than $24,000 in the first quarter but has about $20,000 in her war chest.

The other candidate in the race is Republican David Espinosa, who has worked in the information technology sector and served on boards including the Washoe County Citizen Advisory Board. He reported raising $7,000 in the first quarter of the year and has about $500 on hand.

The winner of the three-way contest will face off against Daly, who does not have primary challengers. He raised $31,000 in the first quarter and has $98,000 cash on hand.

Assembly District 36

Appointed to fill the seat of brothel owner Dennis Hof — who won this Pahrump-area seat in 2018 despite dying weeks before the election — Republican Assemblyman Gregory Hafen II is facing a primary challenge from Dr. Joseph Bradley, who ran for the district in 2018.

Hafen, a fifth generation Nevadan and general manager of a Pahrump water utility company, and has been endorsed by multiple sitting Republican lawmakers, the National Rifle Association and was named “Rural Chair” of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in Nevada.

Hafen has raised nearly $89,000 since the start of the election cycle, including $26,600 in the last reporting period, and has more than $55,000 in cash on hand.

His primary opponent is Bradley, a licensed chiropractor and substance abuse specialist with offices in Las Vegas and Pahrump. He ran for the seat in 2018, coming in third in the Republican primary behind Hof and former Assemblyman James Oscarson.

Bradley has raised more than $68,000 in his bid for the Assembly seat since 2019, and had more than $43,000 in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Bradley’s campaign has tried to tie Hafen to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who as a member of the Clark County Commission voted on a replacement candidate after Hof’s death. Sisolak did vote to appoint Hafen to the seat, but the decision was essentially made by the Nye County Commission because of Nevada’s laws on appointing a new lawmaker after an incumbent leaves office or passes away. Hafen was appointed to the seat with support from 16 of 17 county commissioners in the three counties that the Assembly district covers.

Because no Democrats or other party candidates filed to run in the district, the winner of the primary will essentially win a spot in the 2021 Legislature.

Assembly District 37

A crowded field of well-funded Republican candidates are duking it out in a competitive primary to take on incumbent Democrat Shea Backus, one of several suburban Las Vegas districts Republicans hope to win back after the 2018 midterms. Voter registration numbers in the district are nearly equal: 38.1 percent registered Democrats 35.7 percent registered Republicans and 20.5 percent nonpartisan.

Four Republican candidates filed to run in the district, including two former congressional candidates who have each raised more than six-figures in contributions: Andy Matthews and Michelle Mortensen.

Matthews is the former president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank and was former Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s policy director for his failed 2018 gubernatorial run. He has been endorsed by a bevy of Nevada and national Republicans, including Laxalt, several Trump campaign officials including Corey Lewandowski, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore and several current and former state lawmakers.

Matthews has also been one of the top legislative fundraisers during the 2020 election cycle, outraising all other Republican Assembly candidates including current office-holders. For the first reporting period of 2020, he reported raising nearly $35,000, but has raised nearly $189,000 since the start of 2019 and has early $115,000 in cash on hand.

Mortensen, a former television reporter who ran for Congress in 2018, has also been a prolific fundraiser. She reported raising about $12,500 during the first fundraising period of 2020, with more than $115,000 raised since the start of 2019 and had more than $92,000 in cash on hand at the end of the last reporting period.

But they won’t be alone on the primary ballot. Jacob Deaville, a former UNLV college Republican chair and political activist, has raised more than $19,600 since the start of 2019 and had roughly $9,400 in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. Another Republican candidate, Lisa Noeth, has not filed any campaign finance reports.

The primary election winner will get to challenge incumbent Shea Backus, who wrested the seat from Republican Jim Marchant in the 2018 election by a 135-vote margin. She reported raising more than $52,000 over the first fundraising period, and has more than $108,000 in cash on hand. Backus, an attorney, did not draw a primary challenger.

Assembly District 40

Former Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill is making a comeback bid after serving one term in the Assembly in 2015 and losing re-election in a campaign focused on his controversial vote for Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tax package.

Two-term incumbent Al Kramer decided at the last minute not to seek re-election in the district, which includes Carson City and portions of Washoe Valley. According to The Nevada Appeal, he said he and his wife need to take care of her 94-year-old mother in Ohio and attend to their own health issues, and will not be in Carson City often enough to serve in the Legislature.

O’Neill is a former law enforcement officer who previously served in the Nevada Department of Public Safety. But his path back to the statehouse is complicated by a primary challenge from the right from Day Williams, a lawyer who is running on a platform of repealing the Commerce Tax that O’Neill supported.

O’Neill has the fundraising advantage, raising more than $13,000 in the first quarter and reporting about $10,000 cash on hand. Williams reported raising about $2,300 and has about $1,200 in the bank.

Whoever wins the Republican primary is likely to win in the general — Republicans have a nearly 15 percentage point advantage in the district. The three Democrats in the race are former Carson City Library director Sena Loyd, software engineer Derek Ray Morgan and LGBTQ rights advocate Sherrie Scaffidi, none of whom have more than $500 cash on hand.

Other races that have a primary

  • Senate District 11: Republican Edgar Miron Galindo, who has been endorsed by the Senate Republican Caucus, faces off against Joshua Wendell. However, the winner faces an uphill battle against Democratic state Sen. Dallas Harris in the general election in this overwhelmingly Democratic district in Spring Valley, where Democrats have a 19.5 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans.
  • Senate District 18: Democrat Liz Becker, who has been endorsed by the Senate Democratic Caucus, faces Ron Bilodeau in the primary. The winner will go on to face Republican state Sen. Scott Hammond in this lean Republican northwest Las Vegas Assembly district, where Republicans have a 3 percentage point voter registration advantage over Democrats.
  • Assembly District 5: Republicans Mac Miller, Retha Randolph and Mitchell Tracy face off in the primary. But they’ll have a tough time in the general election against Democratic Assemblywoman Brittney Miller in this district, where Democrats have a 9 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans.
  • Assembly District 6: Democrat Shondra Summers-Armstrong is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus to represent this Assembly District that encompasses the historic Westside of Las Vegas. She faces one opponent, William E. Robinson II, in the primary. There are also two Republicans, Katie Duncan and Geraldine Lewis, who will face off in their own primary. The winner of the Democratic primary is all but guaranteed to defeat the winner of the Republican primary in the general election, as Democrats have a 52.5 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans in the district.
  • Assembly District 10: After being appointed to the seat in 2018, Democratic Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen is running for her first election in this overwhelmingly Democratic district, where there are more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans. Nguyen has one primary challenger, Jesse “Jake” Holder. The two other candidates in the race, Independent American Jonathan Friedrich and Republican Chris Hisgen, do not face primary challenges. Democrats are likely to retain control of this seat in November because of their overwhelming voter registration advantage.
  • Assembly District 14: Democratic Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton is running for her sixth and final term in this East Las Vegas Assembly district, where Democrats make up more than half of all registered voters. She faces a primary challenge from James Fennell II. The third candidate in the race, Libertarian Robert Wayerski, does not face a primary. With only 163 registered libertarians in the district, Democrats are all but guaranteed to hold onto this seat in November.
  • Assembly District 15: Democratic Assemblyman Howard Watts is running for re-election in this East Las Vegas Assembly district. He faces a primary challenge from Democrat Burke Andersson. A third candidate in the race, Republican Stan Vaughan, does not have a primary. Democrats are overwhelmingly likely to win this seat in the general election as they hold a 30.8 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans.
  • Assembly District 17: Democrat Clara “Claire” Thomas is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus in this overwhelmingly Democratic North Las Vegas Assembly district and does not face a primary. Two Republican candidates, Sylvia Liberty Creviston and Jack Polcyn, will face off in June. However, Thomas is likely to win the general election come November because of Democrats’ voter registration advantage.
  • Assembly District 20: Democrat David Orentilcher is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic caucus but faces three other Democrats in the primary: Zachary Logan, Michael McAuliffe and Emily Smith. Whoever wins the primary is guaranteed to win the general election as there are no Republican or third-party candidates running in the race.
  • Assembly District 26: Republican Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner faces one Republican challenger, Dale Conner, in her re-election bid for this overwhelmingly Republican Assembly district where Republicans hold a 10.7 percentage point registration advantage over Democrats. Though one Democrat, Vance Alm, is running for this seat, Republicans are likely to hold onto this seat come November.
  • Assembly District 29: Democratic Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen is running for re-election to this Henderson Assembly district, where Democrats hold a narrow 5.6 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans. While she doesn’t have a primary challenge, she will face one of two Republicans, Steven Delisle or Troy Archer, in the general election.
  • Assembly District 30: Democrat Natha Anderson is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus to represent this Sparks Assembly seat where Democrats hold a 10.2 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans. She will face fellow Democrat Lea Moser in the primary. The winner is likely to win the general election over Republican Randy Hoff and Independent American Charlene Young because of Democrats’ significant voter registration advantage in the district.
  • Assembly District 35: Democratic Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow is running for re-election in this southwest Las Vegas Assembly district, where Democrats hold a 8.5 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans. She does not face a primary challenge. However, two Republicans, Jay Calhoun and Claudia Kingtigh, will face off in a June primary. Gorelow will face the winner of that primary, as well as nonpartisan Philip “Doc Phil” Paleracio in November, though she is likely to win because of the Democratic voter registration advantage in the district.
  • Assembly District 38: Republican Assemblywoman Robin Titus faces a primary challenge from Jeff Ulrich in this overwhelmingly Republican rural Assembly district, where there are more than twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats.