Audit: Secretary of State should have initially declared state Senate recall petitions invalid

Signatures submitted for the recalls of two Democratic state senators last year should have initially been found below requirements for a special election had the secretary of state’s office used a more effective sampling methodology, according to a new audit report.

State auditors on Wednesday recommended to members of the Executive Audit Branch Committee — composed of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and controller — that the office should use Oregon’s process for verifying signatures for recall petitions, which it said had more safeguards and a higher chance of statistical validity. Auditors said the office’s current method, which is required under state law, “may not ensure accurate recall petition sufficiency determinations.”

For a recall petition to qualify for a special election, supporters must gather signatures from 25 percent of voters who cast a ballot in the last election of the officeholder, which must be collected within a 90-day period. After signatures are turned in, state law requires election officials to review them to remove invalid petitions and then use a statistical sample to determine whether or not the recall petitions qualify for a special election.

As an example, auditors said they used Oregon’s methodology — which includes a larger sample size and statistical elements like margin of error and confidence limits — to test the signatures submitted last year as part of the recalls of state senators Nicole Cannizzaro and Joyce Woodhouse.

Although the Nevada secretary of state’s office initially found both recall petitions exceeded the signature requirement, the updated methodology found they did not — the same conclusion reached after a District Court judge ordered a full accounting of the signatures in April.

“Nevada’s methodology does not incorporate other statistical elements into its methodology, such as risk or margin of error,” the report states. “Consequently, the methodology may lead to unreliable sample testing results, flawed conclusions regarding aggregate petition results and accuracy sufficiency determination.”

In a response letter, Secretary of State Barbara Cegasvske said the office agreed with the recommendation and that the recent recall efforts made it “apparent that the current methodology may be insufficient.” Cegavske said the office would evaluate the recommendation and determine what parts of state law or administrative code would need to be changed to comply with the suggestion.

In a statement sent Thursday, Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said that the audit was critical of existing state law on recall procedures but brought up no issues with how the office verified signature petitions for the 2017 recall efforts.

"The audit report found deficiencies in this process, and the Secretary of State’s office agreed with the auditors that the law should be reviewed and potentially updated to address these deficiencies," he said in an email. "Any change in the law would require the approval of both the Nevada Legislature and the Governor. It is important to note that the audit report did not conclude that the Secretary of State’s application of the recall petition signature verification law, as currently written, was faulty. Instead, the audit found fault with the law itself.”

Nevada’s laws on recalls have been under the microscope since last fall, when Republican-backed groups began collecting signatures to recall Woodhouse and Cannizzaro, both of whom were elected in 2016.

Although the state initially determined the petitions had enough signatures to trigger a special election, the recall efforts have been tied up in court ever since — primarily over a sizable bloc of “post submission strike requests,” or recall petition signers who ask for their names to be removed after the recall petition is submitted to the state.

District Court Judge Jerry Wiese ruled in April that neither recall effort qualified and denied a request by recall supporters — who have been funded by the Republican State Leadership Committee and championed by Republican state Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson — to declare the post submission strike requests as unconstitutional.

Backers appealed the case to the state Supreme Court in late May, where it is still pending after both sides submitted briefs in September.

The audit report made a handful of other suggestions for the office, including using a different methodology for post-election audits, revising certain out-of-date sections of state law and administrative code, improving policies to make sure voting systems comply with federal law and are properly documented, and updated internal procedures and policies to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act requirements.

The audit proposed a January 2020 deadline to adopt most of the recommendations.

SoS audit 101718 by Riley Snyder on Scribd

Updated at 10:38 a.m. to include a statement from the Nevada Secretary of State's office.

Obama endorses additional 12 Nevada Democratic candidates ahead of midterms

Former President Barack Obama has officially endorsed another 12 Nevada Democrats on the 2018 ballot as part of a second wave of more than 260 midterm endorsements nationwide.

Obama previously endorsed a slew of Democratic candidates in the state, including gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, U.S. Senate candidate Jacky Rosen and congressional candidates Susie Lee and Steven Horsford.

He added to that list of endorsements by backing three statewide candidates — lieutenant governor candidate Kate Marshall, attorney general candidate Aaron Ford and secretary of state candidate Nelson Araujo — as well as Clint Koble, the Democrat running in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

He also issued endorsements for state Senate candidate Melanie Scheible and Assembly incumbents Brittney Miller, Jason Frierson, Steve Yeager, Ozzie Fumo, Lesley Cohen, Sandra Jauregui and Assembly candidate Michelle Gorelow.

In 2016, Obama endorsed Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, congressional candidates Rosen and Ruben Kihuen and 12 legislative candidates.

Disclosure: Steve Sisolak and Susie Lee have donated to The Indy. You can view a full list of our donors here.

Brothel owner Hof upsets incumbent Oscarson in rural Nevada Assembly district; caucus-backed candidates largely coast to victory in legislative races

Democrats are still expected to keep control of the Legislature come November, but exactly who will fill some of those seats became clearer after the results started trickling in early Tuesday night.

In the night’s biggest upset, brothel owner Dennis Hof unseated incumbent Assemblyman James Oscarson in the Republican primary for Assembly District 36, despite Oscarson raising major funds and accusations of unwelcome sexual contact from some of Hof’s former employees.

But candidates backed by party caucuses largely emerged unscathed after the primary results came in on Tuesday night, with nearly all caucus-endorsed candidates emerging victorious after the results came in. The notable exception was in Assembly District 24, where the caucus-backed former head of the Department of Taxation, Deonne Contine, lost to the labor-supported candidate, Sarah Peters, in their race to represent the heavily Democratic Reno area seat.

In the 42-member Assembly, 21 total candidates (16 Democrats and five Republicans) are guaranteed or almost assured to win the general election, either because only one candidate has declared for the seat or because only one candidate from a party is running and that party has such an overwhelming voter registration advantage in the district it would be unlikely for another party to win it. Six more candidates (two Democrats and four Republicans) are almost assured to be headed up to Carson in February after tonight’s results.

It’s the same case in the 21-member state Senate, where 15 seats are considered safe either because the office-holder isn’t up for re-election or because other candidates declined to file. Overwhelming party registration advantages mean than Democrat Sens. Yvanna Cancela and Assemblyman James Ohrenschall are considered locks to win their November elections after easily winning their primary contests. (Cancela, for instance, will be the only candidate on the ballot in the general election.)

Here’s a look at the the major legislative primary election results:

State Senate District 8

Valarie Weber narrowly came out in top in this three-way Republican primary to replace state Sen. Patricia Farley, a Republican turned independent who caucused with the Democrats during the 2017 session. The district, which includes portions of Summerlin on the western border of Las Vegas, has an almost even number of registered Democrat and Republican voters.

Weber won with 40 percent of the vote while former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien secured 22 percent of the vote and former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer secured 38 percent. Rodimer had pumped $200,000 into his bid for the seat, with more than three-quarters of the total coming from personal loans, where Weber raised a little less than $102,000 and Helgelien had raised $36,000.

Weber will face off against former Democratic Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop in the general election. Dondero Loop beat her only primary opponent — Stephanie Alvarado, who didn’t raise any money for her campaign and was arrested in March for allegedly assaulting two police officers — by 66 percent to 34 percent.

State Senate District 9

As expected, two political newcomers backed by their party caucuses will advance to the general election in this swing state Senate district, formerly held by Republican state Sen. Becky Harris.

Deputy Clark County District Attorney Melanie Scheible easily emerged from her four-way primary race, winning 69 percent of the vote. She’ll face off against bakery owner Tiffany Jones, who lost a primary race to former Assemblyman Brent Jones in 2016 and has been endorsed by the Senate Republican caucus.

Scheible has raised more than $78,000 thus far in her bid for the seat, while Jones has raised just over $41,000. Democrats hold a 6,100 lead in the number of registered voters in the district, or a 38 to 31 percent difference.

State Senate District 10

State Sen. Yvanna Cancela handily won her Democratic primary against animal rights activist Bryce Henderson by 60 percent to 40 percent in this heavily Democratic Las Vegas district, which stretches from downtown Las Vegas south to McCarran Airport. Cancela has represented the seat since she was appointed to it by the Clark County Commission in December 2016 after former state Sen. Ruben Kihuen was elected to Congress.

Cancela, the former political director of the Culinary Union, raised nearly $193,000 in her bid for the seat, compared to only $9,000 raised by Henderson. However, he dogged her throughout the race, criticizing her over several trapping bills that came up during the last legislative session.

No other candidates from any other parties filed for the seat, meaning Cancela’s name will be the only one to appear on the general election ballot in November.

State Senate District 16

Republican state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer again survived a primary challenge from perennial candidate Gary Schmidt, winning on a 56 to 44 percent vote.

Schmidt was initially found to not live at his listed address in the district and was initially barred from seeking the office, but the state’s Supreme Court ruled in May that his name could appear on the ballot during the appeals process.

State Senate District 20

Freshman Rep. Keith Pickard won the Republican primary against political newcomer Byron Brooks carrying 59 percent of the vote to 41 percent.

He’ll face off against Julie Pazina, backed by the state Senate Democratic caucus and who garnered 73 percent of the vote against former Assemblyman Paul Aizley, who received 27 percent.

State Senate District 21

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall easily bested two Democratic opponents, retired fire captain Jay Craddock and working mother Christine Glazer, securing 59 percent of the vote Tuesday in his bid to represent this Democratic-leaning East Las Vegas district. The seat currently has no representative after state Sen. Mark Manendo resigned from the seat last summer after a two-and-a-half-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment revealed witness-tampering and multiple instances of misconduct dating back years.

Craddock secured 15 percent on Tuesday, while Glazer ended up with 27 percent. Democrats have a nearly 2-1 voter registration advantage in the district over Republicans, which means Ohrenschall is almost essentially guaranteed a victory over the one Republican candidate in the race, Ron McGinnis.

Assembly District 2

Republican Assemblyman John Hambrick defeated his sole primary opponent, Jim Small, by eight points in his re-election bid to this Summerlin area district. On the Democratic side, journeywoman electrician Jennie Sherwood defeated UNLV health and constitutional law professor David Orentlicher by 54 percent to 46 percent.

Hambrick will face off against Sherwood in the general election in November to represent this district, in which Republicans have a narrow voter registration advantage.

Assembly District 4

Republican Assemblyman Richard McArthur defeated insurance agent Ken Rezendes in the primary on a 46 to 30 percent split. McArthur previously defeated Rezendes in the 2016 Republican primary for this district by 107 votes.

McArthur will go on to face Democrat Connie Munk, a retired mental health professional who defeated her primary opponent Tony T. Smith by 72 percent to 28 percent.

The district has a fairly even number of registered Republicans and Democrats, meaning that it could swing either way in November.

Assembly District 12

The Democratic caucus-backed candidate, Susan Martinez, came out on top in the six-way Democratic primary on Tuesday night, taking home 46 percent of the vote.

She bested lawyer Anat Levy (25 percent); businessman Brandon Casutt (6 percent); small business owner Cinthia Moore (11 percent); Walter Lee Seip II (2 percent); veteran Gabrielle D’Ayr (6 percent); and communications scientist Gregory York (4 percent), who has raised about $1,000.

Martinez is likely to coast to victory in the general election since Democrats have a roughly 5,000-person voter registration advantage in the district. Republican Richard Fletcher and Independent American Mary Elizabeth Boyer Martinez did not face primary challenges.

Assembly District 13

Las Vegas Metro Police Department Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts beat out primary challenger Steve Sanson to represent this northwest Las Vegas Assembly seat. Roberts secured 66 percent of the vote, while Sanson brought in 20 percent. A third primary challenger, James Kemp, received 14 percent of votes.

Roberts is essentially guaranteed a victory come November, as the Independent American candidate in the race, Leonard Foster, has raised no money.

Assembly District 15

Political activist Howard Watts came out on top in this five-way Democratic primary to replace retiring Democratic Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, securing 46 percent of the vote. Juan Manuel Chavez received 31 percent, Michael Gandy 7 percent, Lou Toomin 8 percent and Andrew Spivak 8 percent.

Watts will have an easy path to victory in November in the heavily Democratic district. The one Republican candidate in the race, Stan Vaughan, has not filed required campaign finance reports.

Assembly District 22

In the race to replace Republican Assemblyman Keith Pickard, businesswoman Melissa Hardy has come out on top beating her opponent Richard Bunce by 14 percentage points.

Hardy, who has run a Port of Subs franchise in Henderson with her husband since 2005, received 57 percent of the vote to Bunce’s 43 percent.

Assembly District 23

Regional Transportation Commission analyst Glen Leavitt easily defeated primary challenger Matt McCarthy by 10 percentage points, meaning he will likely be seated in the state Legislature if he defeats longshot Independent American Party candidate Ralph Preta on the November ballot. Leavitt won 55 percent of the vote, compared to 45 percent for McCarthy.

Assembly District 24

Environmental engineer Sarah Peters, who ran with the support of labor including the Nevada AFL-CIO, won the primary for this Reno-area district with 47 percent of the vote, almost double of any other candidate.

Retail store owner Tom Stewart — who ran with the backing of several notable locals including former legislator Sheila Leslie, former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, Reno City Council Member Jenny Brekhus and Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung — ended up with 23 percent of the vote.

The former head of the Department of Taxation, Deonne Contine, came in third place in the Democratic primary, securing 22 percent of the vote. Contine was endorsed by the Assembly Democratic Caucus in January.

A fourth candidate, state employee Edward Coleman, came in last with 8 percent.

No candidates from any other party entered the race for this seat, meaning Peters will be the only candidate to appear on the November ballot.

Assembly District 32

The wife of the district’s current assemblyman, Alexis Hansen, will advance to the general election after defeated former Humboldt County Commissioner Tom Fransway. Hansen, whose husband, Ira, is running for the state Senate, received 58 percent of the vote while Fransway took in 42 percent of the vote.

Hansen will face off against Democrat Patty Povilaitis, who didn’t face a primary, in the general election. The district has 9,000 more registered Republican voters than Democrats.

Assembly District 33

Incumbent Assemblyman John Ellison easily survived a primary challenge from Elko Mayor Chris Johnson, winning the heavily Republican district with 78 percent to 22 percent for Johnson. Because no other candidates filed to run in the race, Ellison will return to Carson City in 2019.

Assembly District 35

Republican David Schoen will face off against Democrat Michelle Gorelow in the general election in the race to replace Assemblyman Justin Watkins, who decided not to run for re-election. Schoen received 59.5 percent of the vote, with primary opponent Aimee Jones taking in 41.5 percent.

Gorelow defeated Democratic primary challenger Paul Nimsuwan on a 53 to 47 percent margin.

Assembly District 36

Brothel owner Dennis Hof defeated Assemblyman James Oscarson in their Republican primary battle in this rural Nevada Assembly district as of late Tuesday night.

Hof won 42.8 percent of the votes, while Oscarson secured 36.5 percent. In terms of raw votes, Hof had 2,921 to Oscarson’s 2,489. In Nye County, Hof had bested Oscarson by about 907 votes, while Oscarson eked out a narrow 384-vote victory in Clark County.

Oscarson, who was first elected in 2012, has faced primary challenges from Republicans in Nye County after he voted in favor of the contentious Commerce Tax proposal backed by Gov. Brian Sandoval in the 2015 session. He survived a difficult primary in 2016 and then defeated Hof, then running as a Libertarian Party member, in the general election.

Hof changed his party registration to run in the Republican primary this year and has attracted significant support, including from President Donald Trump’s informal advisor Roger Stone, and has funneled more than $210,000 of his personal money into the campaign.

Hof will face off against Democrat Lesia Romanov in the general election, though the seat is almost a sure lock for Republicans. There are about 7,800 more Republicans registered in the district than Democrats.

Assembly District 42

Small business owner and Ethiopian refugee Alexander Assefa will replace Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams in the state Legislature, after he defeated two primary challengers on Tuesday. Assefa, who was endorsed by the Assembly Democratic caucus, received 55.3 percent of the vote, while Kathleen Lauckner received 34.1 percent. A third candidate, LaDon Henry, received 10.6 percent of Democratic primary votes in the district.

Assefa is the only candidate who will appear on the November ballot since no Republicans or third-party candidates filed to run for the seat.

Disclosure: The Culinary Union, Howard Watts and Patricia Farley have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.

Updated 6-13-17 at 8:49 a.m. to include final vote totals from the Secretary of State's website.

Indy Primer: What races to watch for on Primary Election Day

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars expended on ads and voter outreach, Nevada’s primary election is finally here.

Not only will the results of today’s election set in place the top contests on the November ballot, including one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate battles in the country and an open gubernatorial seat, but many important races will be effectively decided based on Tuesday’s results, including a seat on the powerful Clark County Commission and the county’s district attorney.

Voting will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with results trickling in after polls close. More than 157,000 people cast ballots during the state’s two-week early voting period, and more than 22,000 cast absentee or mail ballots ahead of Election Day. More than 93,000 people, or 39 percent of the final electorate, turned out on Election Day for the 2016 primary election.

Today is also the first day that Clark County is using vote centers, polling places where anyone can go on election day instead of a traditional assigned precinct. Find the one nearest to your home or place of work here. In Washoe County, you can find your precinct here if you know your precinct number or search for it here.

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know today:

The basics


Statewide

  • The big race to watch today is the competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary between Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani. Sisolak, buoyed by support from former Sen. Harry Reid, has raised massive sums over the last year and a half and spent much of it on advertisements, but Giunchigliani has also raised a sizable amount and has been boosted by millions of dollars in outside spending and a late endorsement from Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, Attorney General Adam Laxalt is expected to cruise to victory against state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and businessman Jared FisherFor more on the candidate’s records:
    Steve Sisolak | Chris Giunchigliani | Adam Laxalt | Dan Schwartz
  • Republican state Senate Leader Michael Roberson is facing primary challenges from former Assemblyman Brent Jones, businessman Eugene Hoover, Scott LaFata and Gary Meyers in his bid to replace Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison. Former state Treasurer Kate Marshall is expected to easily win the state’s Democratic primary election against Laurie HansenFor more on the candidate’s records:
    Michael Roberson | Kate Marshall
  • As Attorney General Adam Laxalt pursues a bid for Nevada’s top office, a host of candidates are vying to replace them. Former first assistant attorney general Wes Duncan will face off against former Clark County deputy district attorney Craig Mueller in the Republican primary. State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford is expected to cruise to victory in the Democratic primary. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Wes Duncan | Craig Mueller | Aaron Ford
  • Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is expected to easily fend off a primary challenge from political unknown Ernest Aldridge. Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, who announced his plan to challenge Cegavske in March, isn’t facing any primary challenges.
  • Republicans Derek Uehara and former Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers are facing off in the Republican primary for state treasurer, which is being vacated by incumbent Dan Schwartz. Democrat Zach Conine, who has outpaced both Republicans in fundraising, is not facing a primary challenge. There will be no primaries for the state’s candidates for state controller -- incumbent Republican Ron Knecht and Democrat Catherine Byrne.
  • Three seats on the Nevada Supreme Court are up on the ballot in 2018, but primary voters will only get a say in the race for retiring Justice Michael Cherry’s seat. District Court Judge Elissa Cadish has led the field in the fundraising in the nonpartisan statewide race, with Appeals Court Judge Jerry Tao, Leon Aberasturi, Alan Lefebvre and John Rutledge. The top two vote getters will advance to the general election.


U.S. Senate and House races:

  • Although it will likely be one of the top midterm races in the county come November, both Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen are expected to easily cruise to victory on Tuesday. Heller has faced little-to-no intraparty opposition since one-time challenger Danny Tarkanian jumped into the race for the state’s 3rd Congressional District in March, prompted by a tweet from the president. Rosen faces little threat from her five primary opponents, including attorney Jesse Sbaih, who ran against Rosen for Congress in 2016 and loaned $2 million to his primary campaign this year but has spent little of it.
  • Businessman Danny Tarkanian is the favorite to win the Republican primary in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (again), but it’s still possible he could face an upset from state Sen. Scott Hammond or former television news reporter Michelle Mortensen.  Whoever comes out on top from this bitter primary will likely face Democratic education advocate and philanthropist Susie Lee, who faces little threat in her primary, on the November ballot. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Scott Hammond | David McKeon | Michelle Mortensen | Danny Tarkanian | Susie Lee
  • In Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, a crowded field of Democratic candidates are vying to replace Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who decided not to run for office after a series of allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in December. The presumed frontrunner is former Rep. Steven Horsford, who represented the district from 2013 to 2015, though he faces serious primary challengers in the form of state Sen. Pat Spearman, Nevada System of Higher Education regent Allison Stephens and Medicare for All activist Amy Vilela. Here’s what you need to know about the candidates. On the Republican side, former Rep. Cresent Hardy has significantly outraised his five primary opponents. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Steven Horsford | Pat Spearman | Allison Stephens | Amy Vilela
  • Six Democrats are vying for the honor of making a longshot run for Republican Rep. Mark Amodei’s seat in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. No Democrat has ever come within five points of defeating a Republican for the seat. Amodei is facing a primary challenge from former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who has lagged him in fundraising.
  • Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is facing a primary challenge in Nevada’s 1st Congressional District from underdog teacher Reuben D’Silva in the state’s most Democratic district in terms of voter registration.


Legislature

  • Nine Assembly and three state Senate seats will effectively be decided on primary night, although Democrats are essentially guaranteed to keep control of both houses in November. Here’s a rundown of what races to keep an eye on tonight.


Clark County

  • Down South, there are two primaries for the Clark County School District Board of Trustees in District D and District F. Here’s what to look for.
  • Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson is trying to fend off a late challenge from longtime criminal defense attorney Robert Langford, who has been boosted by millions in outside money from national progressive groups. Because both candidates are Democrats and no other candidates filed to run, the race will be decided on Tuesday. For more on the candidate’s records, here’s Steve Wolfson and Rob Langford’s On the Record.
  • Control of a seat on the Clark County Commission will effectively be decided Tuesday, with likely frontrunners including state Sen. Tick Segerblom and union organizer Marco Hernandez. The district, which is currently held by Giunchigliani, has an overwhelming Democratic advantage in voter registration, so the winner will likely have an easy path to victory in November.
  • Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo is hoping to avoid a runoff election with any of his four challengers, including former North Las Vegas police lieutenant Tim Bedwell, by capturing more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Lombardo, who won an initial four-year term in 2014, has significantly outraised his opponents and can automatically capture another term if he garners a majority vote.


Washoe County

  • Voters in Washoe County will head to the polls to choose their party’s nominees in primaries for Reno mayor and City Council, Sparks mayor and City Council, Washoe County Commission. This overview narrows what to watch for up north today.


Disclosure: Several Indy donors are mentioned in this story. You can see a full list of donors here.

Indy Primer: Everything you need to know about the battle for control of the Legislature ahead of the primary

Democrats are likely to hold onto their majorities in both houses of the Legislature come November, even if they don’t win any swing seats.

That’s why the party is now angling for a veto-proof two-thirds majority in both houses, allowing Democrats to override any veto from the a potential Republican governor. It’s a long shot — Democrats would need to win five seats that lean Democratic and three of the four swing seats in the Assembly, as well as all three swing seats in the Senate — but not impossible.

Much of that political calculus will be determined based on the results of the state’s June 12 primary election, where at least nine Assembly and three state Senate races will effectively be decided on primary night. And the outcome of two competitive Republican primary races will determine who the party puts forward in two critical swing Senate seats.

Many more seats in both the Senate and the Assembly have already or effectively been decided, either because the candidates aren’t up for re-election this year, only one candidate has declared for the seat, or because only one candidate from a party is running and that party has such an overwhelming voter registration advantage in the district it would be unlikely for another party to win it. In the 42-seat Assembly, 16 Democratic seats and five Republican seats fall into that category, as well as nine Democratic seats and six Republican ones in the 21-seat Senate.

Even more seats will be essentially decided on primary night, either because no candidates from any other party are running or, again, because a party has such an overwhelming voter registration advantage in the district that it would be unlikely it would lose the seat in November.

The six other Assembly seats that will essentially be decided on primary night — because they lean so far towards one party in voter registration — are Districts 12 and 15 on the Democratic side and Districts 13, 23, 32 and 36 on the Republican side.

That leaves 11 seats in the Assembly — five that lean Democratic, two that lean Republican and four true swing seats — and the three swing seats in the Senate potentially in play in the November election.

Two Senate seats held or formerly held by Democrats are technically in play on primary night, though state Sen. Yvanna Cancela has a significant fundraising advantage over her opponent in District 10 as does termed-out Assemblyman James Ohrenschall in District 21. The same holds true for the Republican seat held by state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who has an edge over his sole Republican opponent.

Of the more competitive races, the leading Republican and Democratic candidates in District 9 have faced little or no primary opposition, as is true for the Democratic candidates in Districts 8 and 20. But the outcome of two contentious primaries on the Republican side — between two former lawmakers and a former professional wrestler in District 8 and between an assemblyman and a U.S. Army combat veteran in District 20 — will decide who will face off against the Democratic candidate in November.

Of the four swing seats in the Assembly, the two primaries to watch are in District 4, where the Republican incumbent is facing a primary challenge, and District 37, where a handful of Democrats are facing off to challenge the Republican incumbent in November.

But voter registration is not the end-all to determining the outcome of legislative races — Republicans scored huge wins and took control of both legislative houses in the 2014 midterm elections including taking many districts with a double-digit advantage for Democrats in voter registration, primarily because of low turnout.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of all the primary races to keep tabs on during Election Day:

SENATE:

Senate District 8 (Republican primary)

A crowded field including two former lawmakers and a former professional wrestler is fighting for the Republican nomination in one of the state’s marquee state Senate districts.

State Senate District 8, which includes portions of Summerlin on the western border of Las Vegas, has a narrow 449 person split between the number of registered Democrats over Republicans of the 70,351 voters in the district. Democrats held a narrow 33-person advantage over registered Republicans in the district ahead of the 2014 primaries, the last time the seat was on the ballot.

Former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien, then Halseth, announced last year that she planned to again run for a legislative seat after she resigned her seat in 2012. Since the start of 2017, she’s raised a little more than $36,000.

Former Assemblywoman Valerie Weber, who served in the Legislature between 2002 and 2008, announced she would run for the seat in 2018 and has been endorsed by the Nevada Senate Republican Caucus. She has raised a little less than $102,000 since the start of 2018, including $10,000 each from the Senate Republican Leadership Conference and a PAC affiliated with Republican state Sen. James Settelmeyer.

But the largest fundraising total belongs to a political newcomer with a decidedly non-political background — Dan Rodimer. The onetime professional wrestler raised more than $200,000 in his bid for the seat, with more than three-quarters of the total coming from personal loans.

Whichever candidate wins will likely take on former Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, who served in the Legislature from 2008 to 2014 before losing a bid for the same state Senate seat. She has reported raising almost $110,000 over the cycle so far, with $5,000 contributions coming from South Point Hotel and Casino, a PAC affiliated with a local plumbers and pipefitters union and EMILY’s List.

Her only primary opponent, Stephanie Alvarado, has not reported any fundraising and was arrested in March for allegedly assaulting two police officers.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Patricia Farley, who was elected as a Republican but changed her party registration to nonpartisan and began caucusing with Democrats during the 2017 legislative session. She announced in August she wouldn’t run for re-election.

Senate District 10 (Democratic primary)

Democratic state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, the incumbent, is the favorite to represent this heavily Democratic Las Vegas district, which stretches from downtown Las Vegas south to McCarran Airport. She has represented the district since December 2016, when Clark County commissioners appointed her to fill Ruben Kihuen’s seat after he was elected to Congress.

Cancela, the former political director of the Culinary Union, has the support of the Senate Democratic Caucus, EMILY’s List, the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107 and the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and has raised nearly $193,000 in her bid for the seat since the start of 2017.

Her sole Democratic opponent, animal rights activist Bryce Henderson, has been vocal in the race, criticizing Cancela over several trapping bills during the last legislative session, but has only raised a little more than $9,000 this year.

The winner of the primary will be the only candidate to appear on the general election ballot, since no other candidates from any other parties are running for the seat. Democrats have a 15,000-person voter registration over Republicans in the district, with 25,553 Democrats and 10,381 Republicans.

Senate District 20

Republicans and Democrats alike have their eyes on this Henderson-area district after incumbent Michael Roberson decided to run for lieutenant governor and not seek re-election to one of a handful of competitive state Senate districts up on the 2018 ballot.

On the Republican side, freshman Assemblyman Keith Pickard is seeking a move up to the state Senate, and has been endorsed by the Nevada Senate Republican Caucus and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber. He’s reported raising more than $133,000 since the start of 2017, including $10,000 each from Citizens for Justice, the Senate Republican Leadership Fund and MGM Resorts properties.

He’s facing off against Byron Brooks, a U.S. Army veteran and bail bondsman who has sought to challenge Pickard’s conservative credentials. He’s reported raising more than $72,000 since the start of 2018, with a significant chunk — nearly $45,000 — coming from personal loans.

Democrats have pinned their hopes on political newcomer Julie Pazina, a Henderson small businesswoman endorsed by the Nevada Senate Democratic caucus. She reported raising more than $88,000 through the first six months of 2018, including $5,000 from a PAC affiliated with a plumbers and pipefitters union, Emily’s List, the campaign account of state Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro and a leadership PAC tied to U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

She’ll face off against former Assemblyman Paul Aizley, who loaned his campaign $10,000 and has spent almost $8,000.

Democrats have a narrow 429-person lead in registered voters, with 28,210 Democrats in the district versus 27,781 Republicans. In 2014, when the seat was last up on the ballot, Republicans held a 23,149 to 22,756 advantage over Democrats ahead of the primary election, an advantage of 393.

Senate District 21 (Democratic primary)

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, who has served in the Legislature since 2006, is the top contender to represent this Democratic-leaning East Las Vegas district after state Sen. Mark Manendo resigned from the seat last summer after a two-and-a-half-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment revealed witness-tampering and multiple instances of misconduct dating back years.

Ohrenschall has the backing of the Senate Democratic Caucus, as well as the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and the Nevada Conservation League, and has raised almost $174,000 since the start of 2017.

He has two Democratic primary opponents: retired fire captain Jay Craddock, who has raised a little more than $26,000 from donations from himself and his family; and working mother Christine Glazer, who has only received a little under $250. There is also one Republican candidate in the race, Ron McGinnis, who hasn’t raised any money so far.

Democrats have nearly a 2-1 voter registration advantage in the district over Republicans, with more than 28,000 Democrats and nearly 15,000 Republicans.

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Assembly District 2 (Republican and Democratic primaries)

Republican Assemblyman John Hambrick, a retired Secret Service agent who has represented District 2 since 2008, has attracted a single primary opponent, Jim Small, in his re-election bid to this Summerlin area district.

Hambrick — who is running with the backing of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and the Nevada Conservation League — has raised a little more than $69,000 since the start of 2017 in his re-election bid to Small’s $67,000, more than $47,000 of that loans.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Jennie Sherwood, a journeywoman electrician, is facing off against David Orentlicher, a UNLV health and constitutional law professor. Sherwood has the backing of the Nevada AFL-CIO, the Nevada State Education Association, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the National Organization for Women and Moms Demand Action, but has only raised about $10,000 while Orentlicher has raised a little more than $42,000, including a $10,000 contribution from his election committee in Indiana and a $20,000 loan from himself.

Republicans have a narrow voter registration advantage in the district, with 14,854 voters to Democrats’ 12,905, but there’s a possibility for the district to swing in either direction come November.

Assembly District 4 (Republican primary)

Republican Assemblyman Richard McArthur is running for re-election to this swingy northwest Las Vegas seat, which he has represented since 2016 but previously represented between 2008 and 2012. But he faces a primary challenge from insurance agent Ken Rezendes who ran against McArthur in the 2016 Republican primary and lost by 107 votes.

McArthur has raised a little more than $39,000 for his re-election bid since the start of 2017, while Rezendes has raised a little more than $24,000, including a $5,000 loan from himself and a $5,000 contribution from his business. A third Republican candidate in the race, Luis Vega, has raised a little under $9,000.

Should McArthur make it through the primary, he will likely face a challenge from Democrat Connie Munk, a retired mental health professional who is running with the backing of the Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus, the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107, EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada. She has raised a little under $34,000 since the start of 2017 and has one primary opponent, Tony T. Smith, who has raised about $5,000.

Whether the district swings right or left is anyone’s guess, as the district has a fairly even number of registered Republicans and Democrats, with only 99 more Republicans than Democrats. An Independent American party candidate, Bob Lystrup, is unlikely to gain much traction and has only raised about $100.

Assembly District 12 (Democratic primary)

Seven Democratic candidates have thrown their hat in the ring to replace Democratic Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, who is pursuing a bid for the state Senate and leaving the race to represent this blue-leaning district, which stretches from east Las Vegas to Lake Las Vegas, wide open.

Susan Martinez, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years, is the favorite among them, with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107 and the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada. She has also raised a little under $49,000 in her bid for the seat.

Her Democratic primary challengers include: lawyer Anat Levy, who has raised about $21,000 including $15,000 in loans; businessman Brandon Casutt, who has raised about $30,000, including a $10,000 loan from himself; small business owner Cinthia Moore, who has raised $17,000; Walter Lee Seip II, who has raised $4,000; veteran Gabrielle D’Ayr, who has raised $3,000; and communications scientist Gregory York, who has raised about $1,000.

Democrats have a roughly 5,000-person voter registration advantage in the district, meaning whoever wins the primary is likely to come out on top in November. Republican Richard Fletcher and Independent American Mary Elizabeth Boyer Martinez are also running for the seat.

Assembly District 13 (Republican primary)

Las Vegas Metro Police Department Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts has the fundraising lead and a number of significant endorsements in his bid to represent this northwest Las Vegas district and replace Republican Assemblyman Paul Anderson, who stepped down from his seat to helm the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Roberts has the backing of the Nevada AFL-CIO, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and the Nevada Conservation League and has raised nearly $75,000 in his bid for the seat. He faces a Republican primary challenge from Steve Sanson, who lost to Anderson in the 2016 Republican primary and has raised about $12,000.

A third Republican primary challenger, James Kemp, has raised only a little more than $2,000. The one Independent American candidate in the race, Leonard Foster, has raised no money.

Whoever wins the Republican primary will be essentially guaranteed a victory in November.

Assembly District 15 (Democratic primary)

Political activist Howard Watts is the favorite to replace retiring Assemblyman Elliot Anderson in this solidly blue Las Vegas district. Watts has the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada State Education Association, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani and has raised almost $65,000 in his bid for the seat.

One of his Democratic primary challengers, Juan Manuel Chavez, has raised about $11,000. Three other Democratic candidates, Michael Gandy, Lou Toomin and Andrew Spivak, have raised $5,000 or less each.

The one Republican candidate in the race, Stan Vaughan, has not filed the required campaign finance reports.

Assembly District 22 (Republican primary)

With Republican Assemblyman Keith Pickard taking a stab at the state Senate, Melissa Hardy and Richard Bunce are facing off in the Republican primary to represent this Republican-leaning Henderson district. Pickard defeated Bunce in the 2016 primary for the seat.

Hardy, who has run a Port of Subs franchise in Henderson with her husband since 2005, is running with the backing of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Conservation League and the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada. Bunce, the lead developer at a custom software development company and the director of voter contract for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign in Nevada, has support from businessman and congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, state Sen. Michael Roberson and Paul.

Bunce has raised a little under $64,000 in the race, including $37,000 in loans to himself, $2,000 from Ahern Rentals and $1,500 from the Nevada Trucking Association. Hardy, meanwhile, has raised a little more than $45,000, with money from the gaming industry ($5,000 from MGM Resorts, $2,500 from Grand Sierra Resorts and $1,500 from Boyd Gaming) and from former Assemblyman Paul Anderson’s campaign account.

Democrat Kristee Watson, who has raised about $20,000 and is running with the support of the Nevada AFL-CIO and the SEIU Local 1107, is likely to defeat her only primary opponent, Luis Aguirre-Insua, who hasn’t raised any money so far.

Republicans have about a 2,400-person voter registration advantage in the district, which means whoever wins the Republican primary has a significant advantage going into the November election against the Democratic candidate.

Assembly District 23 (Republican primary)

Two Republican candidates are vying for this Boulder City district seat being vacated by Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury. Whoever wins the primary will be almost entirely guaranteed a victory come November, since the only other candidate in the race, Independent American Party candidate Ralph Preta, has raised no money so far.

Glen Leavitt, a public affairs analyst with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, has the backing of Woodbury and the Nevada AFL-CIO and has raised $55,000 in his bid for the seat, including a $10,000 loan from himself.

Former Las Vegas Metro Police Department officer Matt McCarthy has raised a little more than $80,000, including $32,500 in loans from himself, and has the backing of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Assembly District 24 (Democratic primary)

Four Democratic candidates are facing off in the primary to represent this Reno district currently representing by retiring Democratic Assemblywoman Amber Joiner. Whoever wins the primary will be the only candidate to appear on the general election ballot — guaranteeing a November victory — since no candidates from any other parties filed for the seat.

Former Nevada Department of Taxation head Deonne Contine is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus and has received roughly $76,000 in contributions so far in her bid for the seat. She also has the support of the SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada State Education Association and EMILY’s List. A PAC funded by the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, the national drug lobby, has also sent out a mailer on her behalf and has been running Facebook ads in support of her campaign.

But Contine faces serious challenges from retail store owner Tom Stewart, who has the backing of several notable locals including former legislator Sheila Leslie, former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, Reno City Council Member Jenny Brekhus and Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung and environmental engineer Sarah Peters, who has the support of the Nevada AFL-CIO, the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council and the Nevada Conservation League. Stewart has raised about $29,000 in his bid for the seat while Peters has received about $25,000.

A fourth candidate, state employee Edward Coleman, has raised a more meager $1,370 in his bid for the seat.

Assembly District 32 (Republican primary)

The wife of veteran lawmaker Ira Hansen is facing a tough primary challenge in this heavily Republican rural district that also includes parts of Sparks.

Alexis Hansen, who announced her bid for her husband’s Assembly seat the same day he announced his intention to run for an overlapping state Senate district, has reported raising just over $20,000 since the start of 2017 in her first bid for public office. Her opponent, longtime Humboldt County Commissioner Tom Fransway, has raised nearly $19,000 in his bid for the legislative seat, including more than $16,000 in personal loans.

The lone Democrat to file in the district, Paula Povilaitis, raised a little less than $4,000 since the start of 2018. She faces an uphill climb in the district, which has more than 9,000 registered Republicans than Democrats.

Assembly District 33 (Republican primary)

A veteran Republican assemblyman is facing a tough primary challenge in this ruby-red rural Assembly district, with the winner advancing to Carson City in 2019 with no other party candidates filing to run.

Incumbent John Ellison, first elected in 2010, reported raising a little over $158,000 since the start of 2017, including $5,000 each from South Point Hotel and Casino and the Las Vegas Sands. His primary opponent, Elko Mayor Chris Johnson, raised almost $63,000 for the seat, including a $50,000 personal loan made to his campaign

The seat has one of the highest percentages of Republican voters of any Republican district, with more than 17,052 of the district’s 30,701 voters registered as a Republican.

Assembly District 35

Competitive primaries for both major parties in this key Assembly swing district will take place on primary election day, with at least five candidates angling to replace incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Justin Watkins, who announced in October he wouldn’t run for re-election.

On the Republican side, paralegal David Schoen is facing off against Real Water executive Aimee Jones, the wife of former Assemblyman Brent Jones. Schoen reported raising around $54,000 since the start of 2017, including about $20,000 in candidate loans and $5,000 from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber. Jones reported bringing in just over $19,600, including $5,000 from Incorp Services.

The Assembly Democratic Caucus endorsed nonprofit executive Michelle Gorelow in February, but she’s facing a well-funded primary challenge from Paul Nimsuwan. Gorelow reported raising just under $41,000 since the beginning of 2018, including $18,000 from incumbent Assembly Democrats and their affiliated PACs. Nimsuwan more than doubled that fundraising total — raising a little less than $92,000 over the reporting period, almost all of which was a personal loan to his campaign.

Regardless of the primary outcome, voters in the district will have a third choice on the November ballot of Daniel Hofstein, running as a nonpartisan. He reported raising just over $30,000, including a $20,000 personal loan.

Democrats have slowly added to their registration lead in the district since the 2016 primary. The party has 16,376 registered voters compared to 13,327 registered Republicans at the close of the primary — a difference of 3,049, or an added 1,058 lead from the same period ahead of the cycle’s primary race.

Assembly District 36 (Republican primary)

Incumbent Republican James Oscarson is in the fight of his political life against prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof in what is likely the nastiest legislative primary fight of the 2018 midterms.

Oscarson, who was first elected in 2012, has faced primary challenges and angst from Republicans in Nye County after he voted in favor of the contentious Commerce Tax proposal favored by Gov. Brian Sandoval in the 2015 legislative session. He narrowly survived a contentious 2016 primary, and then defeated Hof — then running as a Libertarian Party member — in the general election.

Hof, who changed his party registration and has attracted high-profile support including from President Donald Trump’s informal advisor Roger Stone, has largely self-funded his campaign, loaning it more than $210,000 since the start of 2017.

Oscarson has also raised significant funds, bringing in nearly $197,000 since the start of 2017, including more than $20,000 from several MGM properties.

Another Republican candidate, Joseph Bradley, has raised only about $2,200. The lone Democratic candidate for the district, Lesia Romanov, has raised $1,400.

There’s a 7,848 difference between the number of registered Republicans (19,219) and Democrats (11,371) in the district, with more than 8,000 registered nonpartisans.

Assembly District 37 (Democratic primary)

One of the few pick-up opportunities for Assembly Democrats comes in this Summerlin-area district, where the party hopes to knock off incumbent Assemblyman Jim Marchant, running unopposed in the Republican Party primary.

The Democrat who raised the most so far in 2018 is attorney and small business owner Shea Backus, who brought in nearly $30,000 in her bid for the office. She’ll face off against Rick Cornstuble, who reported raising nearly $7,000 so far, and Robbie Pearce, who reported raising $275.

Whoever emerges from the primary will face off against Marchant, who was elected to his first term in 2016 and reported raising a little more than $111,000 since the start of 2017, including $5,000 each from the conservative Keystone Corporation’s chairman John Gibson and South Point Hotel & Casino.

Democrats hold a narrow registration advantage of just 18 voters, or 14,217 registered Democrats to 14,199 Republicans and 7,487 registered nonpartisans. The narrow registered voter advantage has actually flipped in the two years since the 2016 primary election, when Republicans had 14,110 registered voters in the district and Democrats had 13,879.

Assembly District 42 (Democratic primary)

Three Democrats are facing off in a key primary to replace Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, who announced last November that she wouldn’t run for re-election. No Republicans have filed for the seat, so the primary winner will be the seated in the Legislature come 2019.

The presumptive favorite is Alexander Assefa, a small business owner who came to the U.S. 18 years ago as a refugee from Ethiopia and is endorsed by the Assembly Democratic caucus. He reported raising a little under $62,000 over the first six months of 2018, including $5,000 from the progressive Peoples’ PAC, $3,000 from Citizens for Justice and $1,000 from Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson.

He’ll face off against Kathleen Lauckner, a former UNLV professor, and LaDon Henry, who is seeking to become the first transgender man elected to the state Assembly. Both lag Assefa in fundraising — Lauckner raised just under $5,000 and Henry brought in $1,820 since the start of 2018.

Democrats hold a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in registered voters in the district — 11,590 registered Democrats and 5,990 Republicans, with 5,787 nonpartisan voters. Democrats have added 767 registered voters between now and the close of registration for the state’s 2016 primary, compared to 329 registered voters for Republicans.

Disclosure: Several Indy donors are mentioned in this story. You can see a full list of donors here.

Spending spree continues in heated Democratic gubernatorial primary, with Sisolak leading the charge

Candidates for statewide and legislative races are on the home stretch for the primaries, and financial disclosures they filed before a Friday deadline show it’s an expensive stretch for many.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak burned through more than $1 million in the most recent three-week filing period, which ran from May 19 to June 7. That continues a spending spree that was already $5.2 million in the first 4 ½ months as he blankets the airwaves trying to defeat underdog fellow Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who spent just under half a million dollars.

Sisolak raised more than double what Giunchigliani did during the period, although multimillion dollar assistance from outside groups is helping her stay in the race.

Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt spent about $225,000 more than he took in during the most recent filing period. He doesn’t have fierce competition in his primary for governor, but much of it was spent on ads — he was up on TV with a positive spot during Thursday’s final Stanley Cup championship game featuring the Vegas Golden Knights.

Other prominent races include brothel owner Dennis Hof’s Assembly bid to oust Pahrump Republican incumbent James Oscarson. Allegations of sexual misconduct and criticisms over taxes have flown in their expensive battle for an Assembly seat, which has also featured a visit from prominent pro-Donald Trump operative Roger Stone on Hof’s behalf.

And in the race for Clark County District Attorney, incumbent Steve Wolfson is trying to fend off challenger Rob Langford, who entered the race late but is being bolstered by significant spending by outside groups with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros.

Here’s a look at the latest campaign finance reports.

Governor

On the Democratic side, Sisolak brought in more than $363,000 over the reporting period, while spending more than $1 million.

He took in 17 donations of $10,000, the maximum amount a single entity is allowed to give per election cycle. Many of the donations appeared to come from the same parent entity — at least $30,000 combined from Fidelity National Title Group, Cannae Holdings LLC and FNTS Holdings LLC, all of which sent checks on the same day and listed the same address in Jacksonville, Florida.

He took in another $30,000 combined from prominent Las Vegas construction magnate Bill Richardson, his wife Linda and an entity called Sunglow LLC, all of which list the same address. He also received $5,000 from fellow Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown’s campaign account.

At least $955,000 of his reported $1 million in expenditures were earmarked for advertising. Since the start of the year, his campaign has reported spending more than $6.3 million.

His top opponent, Giunchigliani, reported raising more than $164,000 over the reporting period, while spending just over $494,000.

Her top contributor over the reporting period was Caesar’s Palace, which gave her a combined $10,000 from the casino giant’s namesake and Paris Las Vegas. She also received $5,000 each from Massachusetts philanthropist Barbara Lee, Las Vegas law firm Maier Gutierrez & Associates and Total Wine founder David Trone and his wife, June.

She also received $2,000 from Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson and $1,000 from Assemblyman Justin Watkins, who is not running for reelection.

More than $395,000 of her reported $494,000 in expenditures went towards advertising costs.

Giunchigliani is getting a significant leg up from outside groups, including a PAC formed by EMILY’s List called “Women Vote!.” The group reported raising $1.36 million over the three weeks of the reporting period, and spending nearly all of it on advertisements.

She received help from Strong Public Schools Nevada, a PAC backed by the Nevada State Education Association and funded by the teacher’s union, their national parent and the local Service Employees International Union. The group reported raising $800,000 over the fundraising period, and spending $560,000 on advertising.

Republican Treasurer Dan Schwartz loaned his campaign another $75,000 during the reporting period, and spending nearly $83,000. In total, he’s loaned his campaign around $390,000 since the start of 2017.

Laxalt, who had a gaping lead over his opponents in a recent poll, raised an additional $398,752 during the second reporting period of the year. That puts him over the $2.2 million fundraising mark since the beginning of 2018. But he also spent heavily — to the tune of $623,855 — during this reporting period.

Individuals, from both inside and outside Nevada, made up a good portion of Laxalt’s donor base this period. For instance, members of the Florida-based Macricostas family contributed significant donations: Constantine Macricostas ($10,000), Marie Macricostas ($10,000) and Stephen Macricostas ($10,000). A business entity called Nikea LLC, which lists George Macricostas as an officer, also donated $10,000. George Macricostas is the founder of a data center company called RagingWire.

Laxalt also snagged a $5,000 donation from an entity called Shooting Range Industries LLC and $10,000 each from BR Guest Holdings LLC, ACHC LLC, Flat Willow Farm LLC and Wolf Creek Cattle Co. LLC, among others.

He also received donations from a key Trump administration figure — Joseph Otting, who was appointed comptroller of the currency in November and is charged with overseeing banking regulations. Otting and his wife contributed $20,000 to Laxalt’s campaign.He lives part-time in Las Vegas.

Laxalt spent big on polling, paying a firm called WPAi — which touts its work on Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign — $107,413 in May. Axiom Strategies, a consulting firm that worked with Cruz, is helping Laxalt’s campaign as well.

Laxalt also spent more than $400,000 toward advertising this period. His smallest individual expense was $2.17 at a 99 Cents Only store in Las Vegas.

Lieutenant governor

Republican state Sen. Michael Roberson raised $33,553 over the last few weeks, with $30,000 of it coming from MGM Resorts and its affiliated properties. He’s spent roughly $60,000 on assorted expenses, including about $54,000 on advertising and consultants, $3,000 on travel and $460 on polling.

Roberson helped Gov. Brian Sandoval by leading the legislative charge to raise and extend taxes in 2015, but that effort came back to haunt him in a Republican primary for Congress in 2016, which he lost to Danny Tarkanian.  Stridently anti-tax former Assemblyman Brent Jones is among Roberson’s primary opponents in his bid to be the governor’s deputy.

Jones raised $3,000 over the last few weeks, including $2,500 from Incorp Services, and spent $2,800 on advertising-related expenses.

On the Democratic side, Kate Marshall reported raising $21,246 in the pre-primary period and spending $8,544. Caesars Enterprise Services and the Communication Workers of America both donated $5,000.

Her biggest expenditure was paying her campaign manager.

Attorney General

Republican Wes Duncan collected $105,605 in contributions in the pre-primary period, and spent $241,539. He received $10,000 each from MGM Resorts International, the MGM Grand casino and the Bellagio, as well as a $10,000 from slot machine manufacturer IGT’s former chairman, Charles Mathewson.

He spent about $130,000 on advertising, including tens of thousands of dollars with Republican consulting firm November Inc., as well as with the target marketing firm Strategic Media Services.

His primary opponent, Craig Mueller, reported accepting $5,005 and spending $41,095 in the pre-primary period. Most of the spending is attributed to office expenses, but he also paid for polling and advertising with McShane LLC, the company run by Dan Schwartz campaign manager Rory McShane.

Democrat Aaron Ford raised about $64,000 over the same period — including $10,000 from Southern Glazier’s Wine and Spirits, $10,000 from the Democratic Attorney General Association’s Nevada PAC and $5,000 from the Communication Workers of America District 9 — and spent a little more than $181,000. He spent nearly $91,000 on advertising-related expenses to Mag Dog Mail and Blueprint Interactive and $41,000 on “miscellaneous” expenses to Myers Research in Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State

Republican incumbent Barbara Cegavske said she raised $5,550 in the pre-primary period and spent $11,492. Her biggest contribution was from a company called Incorp Services, while her biggest expense was $6,400 to public relations firm 10e Media.

Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo reported raising $17,940 and spending $6,473 in the period. His biggest donation was $5,000 from the Communication Workers of America, and his biggest expenditure was paying his campaign manager.

State Senate District 8

With nonpartisan incumbent Sen. Patricia Farley not running for re-election, this swingy Las Vegas Senate district is teeming with candidates.

Republican former Assemblywoman Valerie Weber only raised about $6,500, but she has spent more than $67,000 over the past few weeks, largely on printing-related expenses and consultants.

Another Republican, former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien, raised a little more than $4,000 over that same period — most of that personal loans — and spent nearly $6,000, largely on advertising expenses. And a third Republican, former wrestler Dan Rodimer, raised about $7,000 over the period and spent nearly $42,000 on polling, advertising and consultants. (Rodimer loaned his campaign more than $157,000 during the last reporting period.)

The Democrat favored to win the primary is former Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, who raised nearly $24,000 over the last few months, including a $5,000 check from AFSCME, and spent about $21,000.

State Senate District 20

Republican Assemblyman Keith Pickard is spending big in his bid to replace state Sen. Michael Roberson in this Henderson district. He raised almost $18,000 this period and spent nearly $40,000, with nearly all of that going to Advanced Micro Targeting for consulting-related expenses.

His main primary opponent, U.S. Army combat veteran Byron Brooks, raised only $4,200 and has spent no money.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-caucus backed candidate, Julie Pazina, brought in nearly $18,000 over the spent and spent a little under $27,000, entirely on advertising. Former Democratic Assemblyman Paul Aizley is also running for the seta, bringing in no money this period and spending $6,800 on advertising of a $10,000 loan he gave himself in the last period.

Assembly District 33

Republican Assemblyman John Ellison, who is facing a Republican primary challenge from Elko Mayor Chris Johnson, raised an additional $48,000 over the last several weeks, including $10,000 from MGM Resorts and $10,000 from High Desert Gold Corp. He also received $3,000 from Barrick, $1,500 from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, $1,000 from Anheuser Busch and $2,000 from the Nevada Realtor PAC.

Ellison spent about $13,000 over that same time period, largely on advertising, special event and staff related expenses.

Johnson only raised $700 this period and spent about $13,000, entirely on advertising.

Assembly District 36

Brothel owner Dennis Hof pumped $100,200 in personal loans into his campaign over the last several weeks and has received another $1,000 in other donations for a rural district that includes Pahrump. He has spent a little less than $74,000 over the same time period, largely on advertising- and special event-related expenses.

Republican Assemblyman James Oscarson, who is defending his seat from Hof, only raised about $15,000 over the same time period, including $1,000 from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America, $2,500 from Valley Electric and $1,000 from Barrick. He spent a little less than $32,000 over the same time period.

Assembly Leadership

Assembly Republican Leader Jim Wheeler brought in $21,000, including $15,000 from the Las Vegas Sands and its affiliated properties, $2,500 from Switch, $1,000 from NV Energy and $2,000 from Barrick. Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson raised $25,540 over the same period, including $5,000 from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, $3,500 from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and $2,000 from AT&T.

Clark County District Attorney

A group with ties to billionaire liberal donor George Soros that’s attempting to boost a challenger to incumbent Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson reported raising more than $1.2 million, all from a single source.

Nevada Law & Justice PAC, which has run ads attacking Wolfson and boosting the candidacy of longtime criminal defense attorney Robert Langford, reported spending more than $414,000 over the nearly three-week reporting period and raising $1.2 million from a group called “Law & Justice PAC.”

The PAC itself is registered to Whitney Tymas, president of the national political nonprofit Justice & Safety PAC and has previously served as treasurer for other groups backed by Soros.

Another Nevada-based PAC running ads in the primary race, “Peoples’ PAC,” reported raising more than $300,000 ahead of the primary, almost all from the San Francisco based “Accountable Justice Action Fund,” a 501(c)(4) nonprofit dedicated to supporting candidates opposed to mass incarceration. It reported spending more than $467,000 over the reporting period, primarily on advertisements.

Because both Langford and Wolfson are Democrats and because no one else filed to run for the seat, the winner of the June 12 primary will automatically assume the office without having to advance to the general election.

Langford reported raising just over $23,000 over the fundraising period, and spent slightly more than $29,000 over the fundraising period. Wolfson reported raising just over $26,000, while spending more than $262,000 over the fundraising period, primarily on advertising.

Another group affiliated with Soros, the Open Society Policy Center, gave $500,000 to a PAC set up to combat a ballot question seeking to ban sanctuary cities in Nevada.

To see what all the statewide and legislative candidates raised between mid-June and now — and how much they’ve now raised in total — check out the table below. Be sure to click between the “Statewide” and “Legislature” tabs at the bottom to see all the races. (This spreadsheet will be continually updated.)

Disclosure: Switch, MGM Resorts, NV Energy, Patricia Farley, Valley Electric, Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.

Backers of state Senate recalls file last-chance appeal, likely heads to state Supreme Court

Front view of the Nevada State Court building

Backers of groups attempting to recall two Democratic state senators are moving to appeal a court decision that found their efforts failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for a special election, likely sending the case to the state Supreme Court.

The two political action committees seeking to qualify a recall effort against state Sens. Nicole Cannizzaro and Joyce Woodhouse on Tuesday filed a notice of intent to appeal an April decision by District Court Judge Jerry Wiese that neither recall petition had enough signatures to qualify for a special recall election, after the removal of several blocks of invalid signatures.

The appeal is a last-chance effort for backers of the recall efforts, which were launched 10 months ago and need a favorable ruling from the state’s highest court to continue moving forward.

Although the two recall efforts initially submitted enough signatures to qualify for a special election, Democratic groups opposing the efforts were able to turn in thousands of signature withdrawal requests that drove the number down below the qualifying threshold.

The appeal will likely focus on whether the court should accept a group of signature withdrawal forms turned in after the recall petition was submitted to county election officials. In March, Wiese upheld the constitutionality of those signature withdrawals.

Nevada law requires recalls to obtain the signatures of 25 percent of the voters who cast a ballot in the last election of the targeted office-holder within a 90-day period. Signatures are then reviewed by state and local election officials, who remove invalid signatures to determine whether the gathered signatures meet the minimum legal threshold.

Under the final order entered by Wiese and not counting the hundreds of post-submission withdrawal forms, the recall petition targeting Woodhouse was 196 signatures short of the needed 14,216 to qualify, and the Cannizzaro petition was 506 short of the needed 14,469 signatures to qualify.

Supporters of the recall efforts have largely avoided the spotlight, though the Republican State Leadership Committee had transferred more than $1.2 million to the two PACs pursuing the recalls. Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison argued the initial case in court, and state Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson has been a vocal proponent of the recall efforts.

In a statement, the Nevada Senate Democrats said they weren’t surprised at the appeal and believed the state Supreme Court would uphold the lower court’s ruling.

“Losing isn’t easy to swallow,” they said in a statement. “The fact remains, however, that the district court found resoundingly for Senators Woodhouse and Cannizzaro, and it is certain that the Nevada Supreme Court will uphold its legal and factual findings.”

Daniel Stewart, the attorney representing the recall PACs, said last month that even if the Supreme Court was to overturn the lower court and qualify one or both of the petitions, the ensuing special election wouldn’t take place until late 2018 or early 2019 — which could run right into the next session of the Legislature, which will begin meeting in 2019.

Staunch Republican, former professional wrestler attempting to become Nevada's Jesse Ventura

It’s unusual for a Nevada state Senate candidate to get prominent airtime on Fox News.

It’s even more unusual for that state Senate candidate to be a former professional wrestler.

But that’s the case for Dan Rodimer, a Republican state Senate candidate who worked a brief stint in the World Wrestling Entertainment in the mid 2000s and is now ramping up his campaign for one of the key legislative seats up on the 2018 ballot.

Rodimer, who wrestled under the name of Dan Rodman and went to law school in Florida, hasn’t shied away from his wrestling roots -- or a past run-in with police. He held a fundraising event earlier in May with a handful of professional wrestling stars including Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and got some prominent airtime on Fox News earlier this week as part of a story on “Trump-style” professional wrestlers running for office.

Other wrestlers have succeeded in the political arena — Glenn Jacobs, better known as professional wrestler Kane, won a close primary earlier in May in a Tennessee mayoral race. Linda McMahon, the wife of WWE promoter and CEO Vince McMahon, made two unsuccessful bids for a Connecticut Senate seat before being appointed as President Donald Trump’s Small Business Administrator.

The most successful wrestler to trade in the tights for a political career is Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who served one term as the governor of Minnesota between 1999 and 2003.

On his website, Rodimer promises to push for Education Savings Accounts, opposes “sanctuary” cities and pledges to oppose any tax increase and try to repeal the Commerce Tax, a 2015 tax on business income over $4 million backed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

He doubled down on rhetoric opposing sanctuary cities in a 2-minute promotional video released earlier this week as part of his appearance on Fox, set to a slowed down rendition of wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan’s entrance music.

“The time is now for us to protect our city from becoming a sanctuary city,” he says in the video. “We are a country of laws and we need to enforce those laws.”

But Rodimer himself has had at least one run-in with the law.

Mugshot of state Senate candidate Dan Rodimer, who was arrested for battery in Collier County, Florida in 2011. Photo Courtesty Collier County Sheriff's Department.

According to a police report obtained by The Nevada Independent, Rodimer verbally threatened and then grabbed a man by the neck and threw him “into a chair and onto the floor” at a Florida Waffle House in 2010.

“He then proceeded to say that he liked to ‘F--k’ people up and was egging me on to fight him,” the victim wrote in an affidavit.

Rodimer was charged with battery, but pleaded guilty and completed a six to eight week anger management course in 2012, which he successfully completed. The charges were dropped in August 2012.

He didn’t deny the charges in a statement, but disagreed with the context.

"Yes, I pushed a bully,” Rodimer said in a statement.

Rodimer will face off against former Assemblywoman Valerie Weber and former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien in the June 12 primary. Democrats have a narrow 25,591 to 25,236 advantage in the number of registered voters with each party in the district, according to the most recent statistics released by the secretary of state.

Pro-choice women's group EMILY's List endorses Nevada Legislature candidates in swing seats

The pro-choice women’s political advocacy group EMILY’s List is stepping into Nevada legislative races, endorsing nine female candidates who face Democratic primaries.

The group, whose name is an acronym for Early Money Is Like Yeast, announced its selections on Tuesday. It typically offers its chosen candidates training on grassroots organizing, communications and fundraising.  

“Pro-choice Democratic women in the Nevada state legislature have been at the forefront of sweeping progress for women and families, including expanded access to reproductive health care coverage and rights for working parents,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement. “That progress has been under attack from Republicans who have tried, and failed, to push their agenda. These nine women are ready to take their seats in both chambers and vote to support the women and families of Nevada.”

The candidates include:

  • Assembly District 37 - Shea Backus, who faces two other Democrats in the primary for the Las Vegas-area seat held by Republican Jim Marchant. The district is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.
  • Senate District 10 - Sen. Yvanna Cancela, an incumbent who has one Democratic primary opponent.
  • Assembly District 29 - Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, an incumbent who has one Democratic primary opponent in her Henderson-area swing district. Republican former Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus is also making a bid to reclaim his old seat.
  • Assembly District 24 - Deonne Contine, the former head of the Nevada Department of Taxation who has three Democratic primary opponents in her Reno-area seat.
  • Senate District 8 - Marilyn Dondero Loop, a former assemblywoman who has one Democratic primary opponent. Her Las Vegas district, held by outgoing nonpartisan Sen. Patricia Farley, is considered a swing seat.
  • Assembly District 35 - Michelle Gorelow, who has one primary opponent in her bid for a southwestern Las Vegas district held by outgoing Democratic Assemblyman Justin Watkins. The district leans Democratic.
  • Assembly District 4 - Connie Munk, who has one primary opponent in her bid for a northwestern Las Vegas district held by Republican Richard McArthur. The district is considered a swing seat.
  • Senate District 20 - Julie Pazina, who faces former Assemblyman Paul Aizley in the Democratic primary. The swing seat is held by outgoing Republican Sen. Michael Roberson.
  • Senate District 9 - Melanie Scheible, who has three Democratic primary opponents in an open seat formerly held by Republican Becky Harris. The district is considered a swing seat.

 

Judge rules recall efforts targeting state senators dead; possible appeal uncertain

Efforts to recall two Democratic state senators are officially dead — but how they died could have implications on an effort to resuscitate them through a possible appeal to the state Supreme Court.

District Court Judge Jerry Wiese ruled Wednesday that recall petitions against state Senators Joyce Woodhouse and Nicole Cannizzaro failed to qualify for a special election, driving a potentially final stake into the heart of a nine-month long effort to oust the two Democrats after they won narrow elections in 2016.

The final fate of the recalls wasn’t disputed during the nearly 30 minute-long hearing, given Wiese’s ruling last month that a critical bloc of signature withdrawals submitted after the recall petitions were turned in were constitutional.

But the final count of the signatures on those petitions, especially the petition targeting Woodhouse, could be crucial if the recall backers appeal Wiese’s ruling on the constitutionality of the withdrawn signatures to the state’s Supreme Court.

That issue dominated the hearing Wednesday, spurred by Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria’s submission of a revised total of signatures earlier in April showing both recalls failed to qualify, and another revision earlier this week after a recall organizer questioned several of the signatures ruled invalid.

Nevada law requires recalls to obtain the signatures of 25 percent of the voters who cast a ballot in the last election of the targeted office-holder within a 90 day period. Signatures are then reviewed and processed by state and local election officials, who remove invalid signatures to determine whether the gathered signatures meet the minimum threshold.

Wiese at the outset of the hearing told attorneys for both parties that he was “frustrated” with the varying numbers of signatures reported by election officials, and raised the idea of holding an evidentiary hearing to determine the actual number of valid signatures, given the wide gulf between an earlier statistical sample of the signatures and the full count he ordered last month.

“All I keep getting are soft numbers that seem to keep changing every time someone asks for it to be changed,” he said. “I don’t know how we can have confidence in a number when it constantly changes.”

Mary-Ann Miller, the Clark County attorney representing Gloria, said the elections office had done the best job they could have with various difficult-to-read signatures, and had filed the amended signature count this week as a “courtesy” to the recall groups.

“Signatures are one of the most difficult things to read,” she said. “Our state doesn’t have any regulations governing signatures, but they trust that job to the registrar of voters. The registrar of voters did an excellent job in this case, having their staff review, check, and double-check their signatures to the best of their ability.”

She said that adding additional valid signatures would complicate the process further, as election officials would need to go back and check for any duplicate signatures and would also need to reassess withdrawal petitions deemed invalid to see if they match up with the new group of valid signatures.

Dan Stewart, the attorney representing the recall groups, said the groups had filed a supplemental declaration because both were surprised that the April signature total found neither petition had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, whereas the statistical sampling done beforehand found that the Woodhouse recall petition would have qualified.

“We basically had an undisputed matter become disputed ten days before this hearing,” he said.

Wiese ultimately said he would accept the signature totals submitted to the court on April 6, meaning the Woodhouse petition was 196 short of qualifying at 14,216 valid signatures and the petition targeting Cannizzaro had 14,469 signatures, falling 506 short of qualifying. He said the final order would mention the disputed invalid signatures.

Stewart said he didn’t know whether they would file an appeal of the decision to the state Supreme Court, but predicted that even if an appeal went in favor of a recall, a special election wouldn’t happen until late 2018 or early 2019.

“Without question, lots of things would have to break right to just have an election, much less win one,” he said.

Backers of the recall effort have 30 days to file an appeal after a written order in the case is filed by the judge.

Supporters of the recall efforts have largely avoided the media spotlight, though campaign finance reports showed that the Republican State Leadership Committee was bankrolling the effort. Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison argued the initial recall case in his private capacity as an attorney, and state Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson has been a vocal supporter of the efforts.

Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Woodhouse and Cannizzaro said they were relieved that the “baseless” recall efforts had failed, and promised to bring forward legislation during the 2019 legislative session dealing with various issues they identified with the recall process itself, including requiring grounds to bring a recall petition forward.

“It becomes increasingly difficult when you have to constantly deal with the undermining of democratic processes to be a voice for your constituents and to work on the things that are important to them,” Cannizzaro said.

Although the petition targeting Woodhouse was the closest to be confirmed, the Democratic senator said she wasn’t worried about it potentially qualifying in the future.

“I’m not going to worry about that. I believe this judge, and I know he rendered a decision that he believes in,” she said. “They have the right to appeal if they want to go that direction, but as Senator Cannizzaro said, we have work to do.”