Election 2024

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Indy Elections: LombardoTalks

Plus: VP visits Las Vegas, Democrats criticize Biden on ‘illegal’ comment
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
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: As Election Day nears, Gov. Joe Lombardo is focused on the Legislature, but he’s not the only one. We explore some of Lombardo’s recent comments from his IndyTalks interview, bring you a new advertising campaign that’s hitting the airwaves and a quick overview of Vice President Kamala Harris’ weekend visit to Las Vegas.

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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: 

  • Candidate filing closes: 3
  • Primary Election Day: 91
  • General Election Day: 238

Lombardo gears up for a showdown over legislative control

Site Hed: IndyTalks: Lombardo vows ‘to use everything available’ to retain veto power

By Tabitha Mueller


Gov. Joe Lombardo said he is “very worried” about the potential for a Democratic supermajority in both houses of the Legislature, which could give Democrats the ability to override any of his vetoes in next year’s session.

During the 2023 legislative session, Lombardo issued a record-setting 75 vetoes. In a candid conversation hosted by The Nevada Independent last week in Reno, he characterized this record as “unfortunate” and resulting from “communication and partisanship” issues with Democratic legislative leaders.

Lombardo said he viewed the eventually vetoed bills as a test, saying Democrats were “seeing what I was willing to withstand.” He declined to say whether he spoke with Senate and Assembly leaders about bills he’d called “unacceptable” before vetoing them, but clarified that he didn’t believe Democratic leaders were acting in bad faith.

“I think that was more of a testament to a change of party and leadership. And maybe it was a little bit of feeling me out,” Lombardo said. “But I don’t think it was bad faith. I think everything was well-intended.” 

He said statehouse control did not preoccupy him as a gubernatorial candidate in 2022, but said after the last legislative session, maintaining his relevance and determining the outcome of legislation during the 2025 legislative session is one of his top campaign priorities. 

He said that California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, told him last year that “single-party rule does not work” because there is no consensus building or discussion. Lombardo emphasized that voters should prevent one-party dominance.

“The Democrats are trying to achieve a supermajority because they believe that’s to the benefit of the state, which I absolutely disagree with,” Lombardo said. “I have vetted candidates, I have identified candidates, I have recruited candidates, I am raising money for candidates to help with their success, to ensure that we prevent [a veto-proof supermajority].”

Lombardo said he would “use everything available to ensure success,” including dark money, or money whose source is not disclosed. He has actively recruited and endorsed legislative candidates boosted by a fundraising apparatus and even persuaded an Assembly Republican running for Congress to drop her bid and run for re-election to a swing Las Vegas district.

Lombardo isn’t the only one highlighting the election’s stakes for legislative control. In a speech last Monday on the first day of candidate filing, Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) said Nevada voters are facing a clear choice this election cycle between Democrats “who are actually trying to solve problems and make life better for Nevadans, or Republicans, who offer nothing but complaints with no real solutions to any of the challenges facing Nevadans.” 

Democrats, Yeager said, are focusing on addressing the housing crisis and providing free breakfast and lunch at schools — issues that Democrats passed bills to address in 2023 that Lombardo subsequently vetoed.

As PACs connected to Lombardo have characterized Democrats as participating in a “culture of corruption,” Lombardo said last week that he believes there is a culture of corruption in the Legislature because it is not subject to open meeting law and has little accountability. 

In recent months, Democrats have highlighted the Republican Party’s connection to false cries of stolen elections and support for former President Donald Trump despite his numerous scandals and court trials.

Lombardo, who endorsed Trump ahead of the Republican primary, said that Trump and the Nevada fake electors are innocent until proven guilty.

Democrats have also highlighted the Nevada Ethics Commission’s decision to censure and fine the governor $20,000 for using his sheriff’s badge and uniform on the campaign trail.

Lombardo called the state ethics commission’s decision “stupid.” He said there’s no specific law addressing the issue, and the decision was based on a conflicting set of legal opinions.

“I’m running for governor and I’m wearing my uniform associated with the profession I chose and provided as part of my campaign because I’m very proud of it,” Lombardo said. 

To read more about Lombardo’s interview, click here.

What we’re reading and writing

As national support dwindles, Biden campaign ramps up efforts to court Black Nevadans by Eric Neugeboren

Another #WeMatter update.

Lombardo says Nevada teachers should not be allowed to strike by Rocio Hernandez

Nevada may have a high unionization rate, but that doesn’t mean it’s friendly to teachers unions.

IndyTalks: Lombardo doesn’t regret housing vetoes, won’t fight abortion ballot measure  by Michelle Rindels, Riley Snyder and Tabitha Mueller

Read The Indy to find out about endorsements the day before they happen.

Big pharma, big bucks: Analyzing how (and why) the industry donates to Nevada politicians by Eric Neugeboren

In the world of politics, “mo money, mo problems” isn’t the whole story.

2024 Nevada candidate filing live blog: More than 550 candidates on the ballot as of Friday by The Nevada Independent Staff

As Willie Nelson frames it: “If you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out (or run for office).”

Indy Ad Watch

Move On Political Action — “No Labels Would Elect Trump

Progressive groups are banding together on a six-figure ad buy panning centrist group No Labels’ flirtation with a third-party candidate bid as a boon to Trump.

The ad, which discourages voters from supporting a No Labels-backed ticket, will run in Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin, on Hulu and YouTube. No Labels has yet to field a candidate.

Gabby Birenbaum

The Lightning Round

📨Young Dems ding Biden on ‘illegal’ comment — President Joe Biden was in hot water with fellow Democrats after calling an undocumented immigrant who murdered a student an “illegal” during the State of the Union — and Young Democrats of Nevada joined the chorus Monday with a lengthy statement expressing their dismay at the president’s verbiage. Although the Young Dems also highlighted Biden’s subsequent apology, the fact that the incident rose to the level of a critical letter — not to mention an additional call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza — demonstrates some potential stumbling blocks Biden will face with young voters.

🗣️ In Vegas, Harris hits Trump on immigration, democracy — Vice President Kamala Harris stumped at Mojave High School in North Las Vegas on Saturday and took several direct shots at former President Donald Trump. Speaking to a crowd in a predominantly Hispanic community, Harris went after Trump’s opposition to a congressional border security bill that Republicans torpedoed (“it is clear we want to fix this problem, but the former president wants to run on it”), his administration’s immigration policies (“cruel and ineffective”) and plans for a second presidency (“he has vowed that he will be a dictator on day one”). Harris also touted some of the Biden administration’s accomplishments, including lowering insulin costs for seniors and canceling student debt.

📬 Governor lambastes USPS proposal — In a letter sent last week, Lombardo urged the United States Postal Service to consider “serious concerns” about moving essential postal operations from Reno to Sacramento. He warned that such a move could negatively affect services offered by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, among other agencies. The letter came after a bipartisan coalition decried the plan’s potential effect on jobs, the economy and mail ballot-heavy elections.

— Tabitha Mueller, Gabby Birenbaum and Eric Neugeboren

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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