Election 2024

Support Us

As early voting begins, what say the voters?

Plus: Ads, rallies and fundraisers — oh my!
Jacob Solis
Jacob Solis
The Nevada Independent Staff
The Nevada Independent Staff
Indy Elections

Indy Elections is The Nevada Independent’s newsletter devoted to comprehensive and accessible coverage of the 2024 elections, from the race for the White House to the bid to take control of the Legislature.

In today’s edition: Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Donald Trump held dueling Las Vegas rallies last Saturday as early voting for Nevada’s Feb. 6 presidential primary finally began. But what are the voters making of the almost assured rerun of 2020’s presidential election? Plus, a veritable thundercloud of Lightning Round items.

Click this link to manage your newsletter subscriptions. This newsletter is published weekly.

We want to hear from you! Send us your questions, comments, observations, jokes or what you think we should be covering or paying attention to. Email Jacob Solis, your humble newsletter editor, at [email protected].

Days until: 

  • Presidential primary: 7
  • GOP presidential caucus: 9
  • Primary Election Day (the one for everybody else): 133
  • Election Day: 280

How Nevada voters view a looming rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump

By Jacob Solis

Reporters Eric Neugeboren, Naoka Foreman and Jannelle Calderon contributed to this report. 

It was a balmy day, even for Las Vegas in January. The sun was shining, kids were playing baseball and softball in the park, and across the sidewalk, Donald Trump had attracted thousands of the MAGA faithful to East Las Vegas. 

It was an unusual venue for Trump — an indoor turf soccer field in an overwhelmingly Hispanic neighborhood where almost three quarters of voters went for Joe Biden in 2020. But it’s a location that has dovetailed with a nationwide push from Republicans: Hammer Biden on the border. 

Trump — who spent much of his speech lambasting Biden’s immigration policy — used his bully pulpit to try and kill the bipartisan immigration bill being negotiated in the Senate.

“As the leader of our party, there is zero chance I will support this horrible open borders betrayal of America ... Please blame it on me, please, because they were getting ready to pass a very bad bill,” Trump said Saturday. 

It’s a message resonating with Trump voters.

One such rally attendee was Dorothy Caperonis, 57, who has lived in Las Vegas since the late 1980s but grew up in San Diego. She’s a dealer at Caesars Palace, Asian-American and a voter who didn’t vote in 2016, but voted for Trump in 2020. By way of explanation: “I liked what he did in the White House,” she said, praising in particular his foreign policy — and the border wall. 

“Now there are signs [in San Diego] warning people on the freeway, ‘Beware of pedestrians crossing the freeway,’ and they're holding hands,” Caperonis said. “This immigration thing is insane.” 

Beyond any single issue, Trump voters praised one thing above all else: Trump himself. 

Susan Russell, a real estate agent, voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. She said, unprompted, that she was “one of the people that do believe the election was stolen from him,” that the government would manipulate votes through cell phones, and that “I'm not trusting anything that anyone in Washington D.C. does except Donald Trump.” 

“I will vote for him this time if he's in prison,” Russell said. “Or if he's dead, I'll write his name.”

Meanwhile, for Democrats, Biden was at once a president who has successfully implemented his agenda on infrastructure and climate goals, and one who — despite his age — is not Trump. 

“Yeah, he's old,” Jon L’Hommedieu, 63, said during an early vote event with California Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday. “I'm almost there. So I'm not gonna criticize, but he's definitely better than the alternative.”

Hope Lee, 76 — who came to watch Kamala Harris speak in East Las Vegas, just over a mile from Trump’s speech — said that Biden is “putting in work and it takes time.” 

“People don't understand that any law you make does not come in 10 minutes,” she said.

Not every voter has made up their mind. 

Craig Wright, 60, is a culinary trainer at the Chef Jeff Project, a culinary training school and one of Harris’ stops on her whirlwind Saturday tour through parts of East Las Vegas. With border security and gun violence among youth among his top issues, he said he wasn’t inspired by either candidate. 

“We need somebody in leadership that will lead us into a direction that is positive — whoever it may be,” he said. “The country right now is kind of in … disarray.”

Check out our full coverage of Saturday’s Trump rally here, and the Harris events here

What we’re reading and writing

With his veto power on the line in 2024, Lombardo’s campaign machine is ramping up by Sean Golonka, Tabitha Mueller, Eric Neugeboren and Jacob Solis

Your word of the day: SUPERMAJORITY. 

Nevada primary turnout: More than 90,000 votes cast, mostly by mail by Sean Golonka

In which the early vote becomes the mail vote. 

D.C. Download: Are Democrats right that abortion is on the ballot in 2024? by Gabby Birenbaum and Jannelle Calderon

A deep dive on how Dems plan to run on abortion issues up and down the ballot. 

Unions, casinos and utilities power Southern Nevada local government campaigns by Naoka Foreman and Jannelle Calderon

Here’s a number: The top three  Las Vegas mayoral candidates combined to raise nearly $2.3 million.

Ryan Binkley is the only candidate still running against Trump in Nevada’s GOP caucus. Why? by Jacob Solis

A look at the last longshot left in the Nevada caucus. 

On the Trail: “A pointless primary?”

On our latest episode of the new On the Trail podcast: We dissect the earliest primary results from Iowa and New Hampshire to find out just what it could mean for Nevada — and whether or not 2024 might be the first time #WeDon’tMatter. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes drop every Thursday!

The Lightning Round

📺 Senate Majority PAC lines up first fall ad spots — The $36 million reservation for Nevada airwaves in the summer and fall, per Politico, marks the first TV spending by the Democrat’s top outside PAC in its bid to keep incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) afloat. It joins another $27 million Senate Majority PAC plans to spend on another key Senate race in Montana. 

💸 Biden’s Vegas visit comes with big-money fundraiser — Ahead of a pre-primary rally expected next Monday, Politico Playbook reports that Biden will headline a Vegas fundraiser on Sunday. For $100,000, donors can become a “host,” or for a mere $5,000 be a “friend.” 

👀 Is Marianne Williamson still campaigning in Nevada? — Good question! The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday that a quartet of Williamson events in Vegas had been canceled (sans explanation). That was just a day after Williamson took to X to tell supporters she wasn’t dropping out of the race. As of Monday, there are no new events on Williamson’s campaign website. Though she launched a social media campaign targeting Nevada over the weekend, her campaign did not respond when asked if the candidate was going to come back to the Silver State before the primary.  

❄️ A hard-right rift at the RNC’s winter meeting? — As Republicans converge on Las Vegas this week for the Republican National Committee’s annual winter meeting, a report from the Washington Times suggests the party’s right flank could move to vote “no confidence” in RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. It comes as Turning Point Action, the conservative group led by Charlie Kirk, is holding a concurrent “Restoring National Confidence Summit” in Las Vegas at the same time.

📬 Lombardo votes by mail — While nearly 345,000 Clark County Republican voters have been mailed a ballot, just about 15,000 have cast their ballot so far. That includes Gov. Joe Lombardo, who, according to county mail ballot data, has already returned his mail ballot — presumably with “none of these candidates” filled in, as he indicated earlier this month.

📢 Trump stays neutral on Senate endorsement (for now) — Not to be lost in the shuffle of Trump’s visit to Las Vegas Saturday, the former president only kinda-sorta weighed in on the crowded Republican primary to replace Rosen in the Senate. Trump named former Iceland Ambassador Jeff Gunter, retired U.S. Army Capt. Sam Brown and former Assemblyman Jim Marchant (in that order) before saying: “We'll see what happens, but it's gonna be great.” 

🥊 Newsom takes a shot at Lombardo — Speaking to reporters in Las Vegas on Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Lombardo’s time in office has represented a “real setback” in the relationship between governors out West. He said when former Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, was in office, there was much more collaboration between the two states on issues ranging from traffic to the environment. Newsom said the “West Coast Alliance” among governors is “missing a little bit now.”

📝 Is a regular part of the sample ballot actually election interference in disguise? — The Trump camp says so, according to a report Monday from The Messenger. At issue: A block of text telling voters it is illegal to vote twice in the same election, a phrase the campaign argues could confuse voters with both a primary and caucus next week. However, the text is a staple part of Nevada sample ballots because 1) the warning is required by law, and 2) it really is a crime to vote twice in the same election! 

🗳️ School board candidates, city council races and re-election announcements, oh my! — Though the presidential primaries are all but decided, announcements in local government races indicate 2024’s down-ballot races are just getting started. For more, head on over to our local government candidate tracker. For legislative announcements, click here.

Jacob Solis, Sean Golonka, Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

And to ease you into the week, a few “posts” to “X” that caught our eye: 

We’ll see you next week. 

Interested in more newsletters from The Nevada IndependentFind them all here.


Featured Videos