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Indy Elections: Democratic candidate regrets sharing anti-abortion post

Plus: A new poll and TikTok ad
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
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: A Democratic Assembly candidate shared an anti-abortion Facebook post in 2016. She explains the post and her stance on abortion. There’s also a new poll and our Lightning Round.

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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 your newsletter editor Tabitha Mueller at [email protected].

Days until: 

  • Early primary voting begins: 53
  • Regular primary Election Day: 70
  • Election Day: 217

Assembly Democratic candidate explains anti-abortion video share

By Tabitha Mueller

In 2016, Sharifa Wahab shared a graphic animated video depicting an abortion on her Facebook account that was captioned, “Anyone who aborts a child is undoubtedly a murderer.”

The post has since been deleted, but Wahab — a caucus-backed Democrat running in Las Vegas’ Assembly District 35 — now says she believes that the decision to have an abortion should be left up to a patient and their doctor, even if she wouldn’t have one.

A Nevada Independent review of her social media accounts did not turn up any other anti-abortion sentiments.

“I regret sharing this Facebook post, and I can’t emphasize enough how it does not reflect my opinion on access to safe, legal abortion,” Wahab told The Nevada Independent in a Friday interview. “As a devout Muslim woman with a deep religious belief, I understand that abortion is not always a decision for some women, but that decision is her choice and between her and her physician.”

Her comments and past social media post comes as Nevada Democrats have doubled down on support for abortion rights in hopes that the issue’s popularity will help propel Democrats to victory, with the Assembly Democratic Caucus supporting pro-abortion rights candidates and emphasizing the need to protect access to the procedure in the Silver State. 

Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy in Nevada because of a 1990 referendum, which can only be overturned by a majority vote of the people — and pro-abortion rights groups in the state are seeking to qualify another ballot question this election cycle to insert those legal protections into the state Constitution. 

Wahab said that the post shared more than eight years ago was a “mistake” that came about after clicking through various social media posts, and she had forgotten it existed until she was asked about it. 

Still, she emphasized her support of abortion access following the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade and other state-led campaigns to limit reproductive services.

Though Wahab said she wouldn’t have an abortion, in part because of her faith, she wants other women to have the option to do so. Her sentiments echo state Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), who, before a vote last session on SJR7, a resolution seeking to enshrine abortion protections in the Nevada Constitution, revealed that she didn’t decide to have an abortion but believes people should have the choice to do so.

Wahab owns 1st Las Vegas Home Care, which provides elderly and disabled people with home-based, nonmedical care such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, running errands and housekeeping. She will face Gov. Joe Lombardo-endorsed candidate Dr. Rebecca Edgeworth, a Republican, in the general election, as no other candidates filed to run in the race. 

The district is considered a swing district, with about 29 percent of voters registered as Democrats, around 27 percent registered as Republicans and more than 35 percent registered as nonpartisan. Incumbent Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas) announced last year she would not be running for re-election.

“I will work every day in the state Legislature to protect Nevada women’s reproductive freedom and make sure no politician takes away a woman’s right to choose,” Wahab said. 

What we’re reading and writing

Rosen launches first re-election ad campaign with focus on bipartisan bonafides by Eric Neugeboren

The general election begins.

Nevada lawmakers named in election denial report walk back past comments by Tabitha Mueller

There was fraud, but not ~ that much ~ fraud.

ALT: This GIF.

Nevada local government candidates: Who’s running in school board, city, county races by Carly Sauvageau, Rocio Hernandez, Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

Find out who’s in and out in this must-read local government election roundup.

Washoe commissioner says residency rumors have become harassment by Carly Sauvageau

If someone repeats a lie enough times … it’s still a lie.

Indy Poll Watch

Bloomberg News/Morning Consult (March 8-15)

  • 447 registered voters (Nevada)
  • Margin of error: 5 percent

President Joe Biden trailed former President Donald Trump by 2 percentage points in the latest Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll, well within the poll’s margin of error. It’s an improvement for Biden from previous Bloomberg/Morning Consult polls this winter and his best result in the poll since October, when he had a 3-point lead over Trump in Nevada.

One-third of the poll’s respondents listed the economy as their top issue, followed by immigration at 16 percent and American democracy at 10 percent. Respondents were more likely to trust Trump to handle the economy and immigration. Respondents trusted Biden more on topics such as abortion, climate change and health care.

However, Trump’s lead over Biden expanded to 6 percentage points when third-party candidates were included. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is feuding with Nevada election officials over ballot access and is planning to run in Nevada as an independent, received 11 percent of the total vote in that scenario.

— Eric Neugeboren

Indy Ad Watch

TikTok takes out TV ads

Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok purchased a sizable amount of ad time in Reno and Las Vegas markets as part of a national $2.1 million campaign as the Senate reviews a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that could ban the popular app.

According to NBC News, the ads will run in the battleground states of Nevada, Montana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio — all of which are represented by vulnerable Senate Democrats up in 2024.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom reserves space

The organization leading the effort to place an abortion rights question on the general election ballot has reserved ad space on KOLO 8 News in Reno for four weeks this fall, including two weeks leading up to the election. 

The cost for the ad buy was north of $350,000. An official with the PAC said it’s part of a $15 million advertising campaign.

— Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

The Lightning Round

🤔 A Republican NSEA PAC? — Top officials with the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA) created a political action committee earlier this month called Republican Educators to “promote candidates who align with Republicans educators and support public schools,” even though the union has only endorsed Democrats this election cycle. Assemblywoman Danielle Gallant (R-Las Vegas) said last week that she received a candidate survey from the PAC that included a question about supporting government subsidies to fund stadiums. Another NSEA-affiliated PAC has filed multiple lawsuits to block public funding to help build a stadium to bring the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas.

1️⃣ Endorsement watch Pt. 1 — Diana Sande, a Republican running in the closely watched Assembly District 25 seat, received endorsements this week from Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) and the Clark County Education Association (CCEA). The latter is particularly noteworthy because CCEA typically endorses Democrats, and the incumbent — Selena La Rue Hatch (D-Reno) — is a member of and has the backing of the rival union NSEA.

2️⃣ Endorsement watch Pt. 2 — LGBTQ+ Victory Fund announced last week that it endorsed Democrats Mishon Montgomery for Assembly District 17 and Ryan Hampton for Assembly District 4.  In the release, Hampton identifies himself as an advocate for the community, and Montgomery highlights her identity as a Black, LGBTQ+ woman. Montgomery is in a contested primary, and though Hampton does not have a primary challenger, he will face Lombardo-backed Republican Lisa Cole in the general election. The Assembly Democratic Caucus is backing Montgomery and Hampton.

🥊 Secretary of state pushes back on RNC lawsuit — The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office said on Friday that it will file a motion to dismiss a voter roll cleanup lawsuit brought by the Nevada GOP and Republican National Committee, calling the suit “meritless.” Republicans alleged that the state’s voter roll maintenance is so lax that the number of registered voters exceeds the number of voting-age adults in five counties. Lawyers for the state said Republicans’ use of two separate datasets was akin to “comparing apples to orangutans.”

📈 Elections rater has good news for Nevada Democrats — Inside Elections, a national group that analyzes election competitiveness, moved its prediction for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District — represented by Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) — from “Lean Democratic” to “Likely Democratic.” The change means that Inside Elections considers all three of Nevada’s Democrat-held House seats as “Likely Democratic.”

🥕 Carrot Top weighs in on LV mayoral election — Las Vegas comedian Scott “Carrot Top” Thompson said he is “of course” endorsing Las Vegas mayoral candidate Victoria Seaman in a video Seaman posted on social media. “We need a good mayor,” Carrot Top said, noting that he is THE Carrot Top (unless he owes her money).

— Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

This was updated on 4/2/2024 at 1:05 p.m. to reflect that Assemblywoman Selena La Rue Hatch is a member of NSEA.

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

We’ll see you next week. 

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