Election 2024

Support Us

Indy Elections: 📈 New Senate polling shows Brown in the lead

Plus: The latest reincarnation of Lombardo’s inaugural committee
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
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 look at an internal poll that shows Sam Brown with a 38-point lead over his competitors. We also have a roundup of the highest ad spenders for last week (*spoiler* Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) holds the lead), the latest on a new $15 million LGBTQ+ voter initiative in battleground states and how to find early voting polling locations.

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 your newsletter editor Tabitha Mueller at [email protected].

By the Numbers: 

  • 1 day until primary ballots are prepared and mailed out
  • 4 days until early voting and the Henderson kids’ ice cream vote officially begins!
  • 21 days until the primary election
  • 25 days until we actually find out who won the primary election! (kidding!) (maybe!)

Internal poll shows Brown leading with less than a month until primary

By Gabby Birenbaum

An internal poll from the Tarrance Group, commissioned by Sam Brown’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has good news for him — he’s up big.

The poll shows Brown with a 38-point lead over former Trump ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter. Gunter, however, is sitting at 14 percent support, a sizable improvement from the same pollster’s last two surveys of the Nevada primary electorate.

Part of that jump can be attributed to ad buys. The self-funded candidate is up on television with millions of dollars worth of attack ads targeting Brown. But how effective are they? Voters who report having seen, heard or read something about Gunter recently are split as to whether it made them want to support him more or less.

For further insights, read the full story here.

What we’re reading and writing

Anatomy of a political breakup: Why the Culinary Union unendorsed Democratic lawmakers by Tabitha Mueller

Is this a breakup, a break or just a situationship? We explain.

Can Biden, Nevada Democrats convince voters they're the party of housing? by Gabby Birenbaum

Nevada: lowest in the country for affordable housing but the most federal land. 

Clark, Washoe election officials hope new technology will speed up ballot processing pace by Eric Neugeboren

I guess election officials don’t want headlines like this again?

Berkley campaign manager calls Las Vegas mayor race opponent a 'bitch' in video by Gabby Birenbaum

Can we call this “bitchgate?” 

Las Vegas mayoral candidates debate policy, defend records at Nevada Independent forum by Eric Neugeboren

Candidates explain their vision for Las Vegas, awkwardly name their presidential picks.

Judge allows Nevada ‘fake electors’ to file reply after allegations of withheld evidence by Eric Neugeboren

Mark your calendars: new hearing set for June 18.

The inaugural committee that keeps on giving

A dark money group created to raise money for Gov. Joe Lombardo’s inaugural balls is once again ramping up activity in state legislative races and is giving the first hints of the Republican governor’s 2025 agenda.

The Service First Fund political nonprofit has launched a new website called “The Lombardo Agenda” that features a dedicated issues page outlining the Republican governor’s policy goals for the 2025 legislative session, from traditional conservative policy planks (pledging no new taxes, funding Opportunity Scholarships, passing voter ID laws and prohibiting mail ballots from being accepted after Election Day) to topics such as affordable housing and various government transparency changes, including requiring the Legislature comply with the state’s open meeting and public records laws to a proposal giving the governor a line-item veto.

“We are building a coalition of strong leaders across Nevada who support the Lombardo Agenda and we appreciate everything they are doing to help make it a reality,” Service First Fund spokesman John Burke said in an email.

The site also has pages promoting three Republican legislative candidates — Sen. Carrie Buck (R-Las Vegas), Senate District 18 candidate John Steinbeck and Assembly District 21 candidate April Arndt — all of whom were endorsed by Lombardo but are facing GOP primary challenges.

The nonprofit was initially created last year as the “Nevada Inaugural Committee” and set up to arrange Lombardo’s inaugural balls in Northern and Southern Nevada. But last March, it rebranded as Service First Fund and began operating as an arm of the governor’s political machine, running digital ads attacking Democratic lawmakers for not supporting the governor’s bills in the 2023 legislative session.

Registering as a nonprofit means that Service First Fund does not need to publicly report its donors (state campaign finance reports show only one donation to the group, from a PAC associated with the Las Vegas Chamber that gave the nonprofit $25,000 in December 2023). 

A 2022 filing showed that it raised more than $1.3 million and recorded nearly $321,000 in expenses, primarily to “organize inaugural events” for Lombardo. Those figures do not reflect any activity from Lombardo’s first year in office, and a filing for 2023 has not yet been published.

At the end of the 2023 session, Lombardo vetoed a bill that would have required retroactive disclosure of inaugural committee donors for governors and the other five statewide elected officials.

Riley Snyder

Indy Ad Watch


  • U.S. Senate Race: Jacky Rosen - Most Bipartisan And Effective
    • Began Airing: 5/3
    • Total Spend: $396,000
    • Ad Impressions (number of times an advertisement was seen, regardless of whether the user took any action): 27.2 million
  • Nevada Realtors - More Housing
    • Began Airing: 4/30
    • Total Spend: $151,400
    • Ad Impressions: 2.7 million
  • U.S. Senate Race: Jeff Gunter - Nuclear Waste Plan
    • Began Airing: 5/15
    • Total Spend: $123,100
    • Ad Impressions: 4.7 million
  • U.S. Senate Race: Sam Brown - Under Siege
    • Began Airing: 5/2
    • Total Spend: $101,800
    • Ad Impressions: 5 million


  • In swingy Senate District 5, where Democrats are hoping to oust Sen. Carrie Buck (R-Henderson), Gov. Joe Lombardo’s Better Nevada PAC is out with a new ad highlighting Buck’s work as an educator (Buck is facing a well-funded GOP primary challenge from Richard Frederick Auchmoody). “We need Carrie’s expertise and determination in Carson City,” Lombardo says in the 15-second ad. “She has my full support.” 


Tabitha Mueller

The Lightning Round

💸 Human Rights Campaign launches $15 million campaign — The LBGTQ+ advocacy group announced a $15 million nationwide campaign in voter education and engagement in six battleground states, including Nevada. Though the group didn’t share how much of that money is being spent in the Silver State, organizers said the group would conduct accountability campaigns, initiatives to strengthen poll worker recruitment, and other educational efforts to ensure everyone can exercise their right to vote

⚖️ SOS files motion to dismiss — Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit from the Republican National Committee and the Nevada GOP that accused the Nevada secretary of state of “impossibly high” voter registration rates. The motion cited a lack of standing, failure to state a claim and said allegations relating to inactive registrations and relocation rates are “not plausible.”

Election denier loses (another) election lawsuit — The Nevada Supreme Court last week rejected an appeal of a lawsuit from prominent GOP donor Robert Beadles, who sought to remove Washoe County officials from office because they did not respond to baseless allegations of election law violations in the 2020 election and continuing procedural breaches. 

Endorsement watch pt. 1 — The Native Voters Alliance announced its inaugural slate of endorsed candidates last week, including Sen. Rochelle Nguyen (D-Las Vegas), who is facing a primary challenge from a Culinary Union-backed nurse, Geoconda Hughes. Taylor Patterson, the executive director of the alliance, said endorsees needed to show “their genuine commitment to amplifying the voices of Indigenous, BIPOC, and other marginalized communities.”

Endorsement watch pt. 2 — The Southern Nevada Building Trades Union notably broke with the Culinary Union to endorse Nguyen and Assembly Democratic Caucus-backed candidate Mishon Montgomery, who is running against Culinary-backed candidate Linda Hunt.

Endorsement watch pt. 3 — U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) endorsed Sam Brown for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat Monday. 

📬 The curious case of the mistaken mail ballots — A Washoe County registrar error means that Washoe County voters who previously opted out of receiving a mail ballot will still get one in the mail for the June primary. But officials say the problem won’t happen in November. More here.

Tabitha Mueller 

Looking Ahead

📝 Thursday, May 23, 9:30 a.m. — The Legislature’s Joint Interim Standing Committee on Commerce and Labor is set to discuss artificial intelligence in state government. Lawmakers will also discuss updates on the state’s cultural competency training program for health facilities

 🗳️ Saturday, May 25 — Early voting begins! It will run through June 7. Find early voting and Election Day polling locations broken down by county at this link.

Tabitha Mueller

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

We’ll see you next week.


Featured Videos