Election 2024

Support Us

Indy Elections: What to watch on Election Day (the primary version)

Plus: Poll shows Sam Brown with a commanding lead
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
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: We detail the trends we’re watching this primary and what the results mean for the general election. We also take a look at Republican candidates’ final pitches to voters (most of which can be distilled to “Biden sucks”) and Democratic attacks on Trump for his 34 felony convictions. Also, an update on the “fake electors” case.

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: 

  • 11.9 percent of registered voters participated in the primary early voting period
  • Six hospital transports at scorching Las Vegas Trump rally
  • 25 more days until we get primary results (just kidding, the secretary of state’s office said we can expect faster results because of new counting rules)

What to watch on Election Day (the primary version)

By Tabitha Mueller, Gabby Birenbaum, Eric Neugeboren and Rocio Hernandez

Nevada’s Tuesday primary election won’t determine the next U.S. senator to represent Nevada or offer any definitive answers about whether the governor will maintain his veto authority.

But it will set the stage for the November general election and offer insights into political dynamics that could play out in the general election (and beyond), such as the power of Gov. Joe Lombardo’s endorsement, the ability of the Culinary Union to challenge legislative Democrats and the support for mail ballots.

Read our breakdown here to better understand the trends we’re watching in the primary and what the results could mean for November. 

What we’re reading and writing

Trump endorses Sam Brown in Nevada Senate primary by Gabby Birenbaum

ICYMI on Truth Social.

Trump stays out of Senate primary in Vegas rally; pans Biden border policy as ‘bullshit’ by Eric Neugeboren and Gabby Birenbaum

Nearly triple-digit heat and six hospital transports.

Moms critical of policies, books related to LGBTQ+ students seek school board seats by Rocio Hernandez

What kind of sway will they have?

Will Reno elect its first Black city council member in 30 years? by Carly Sauvageau

“We have so much working against us systemically.”

Nevada GOP’s bylaws bar support for convicted felons. It made an exception for Trump. by Tabitha Mueller

Rules for thee but not for me.

RFK Jr. files new petition to land on Nevada ballot; earlier effort stuck in court by Eric Neugeboren

Back to the drawing board.

Trump campaign sues Nevada, alleges counting of non-postmarked mail ballots by Eric Neugeboren

Assurances are all you need in the court of law, right?

Indy Poll Watch 

Public polling has been limited in Nevada’s GOP Senate primary, but a survey released last week from Noble Predictive Insights found front-runner Sam Brown with a commanding lead. He received 50 percent of support in the survey, with the next-highest candidate, former Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter, slotting in at 15 percent. No other candidate hit double digits.

The poll came before former President Donald Trump endorsed Brown, an Army veteran, on Sunday, which in all likelihood will lock up the nomination, given Trump-endorsed candidates’ successful track record in GOP Senate primaries.

Even before Trump’s endorsement, the Noble survey found Brown receiving support from more than half of self-described “Trump-first Republicans” who were pushed to pick a candidate, with no other candidate topping 20 percent of the voting bloc.

Eric Neugeboren

Indy Ad Watch

AD-NALYSIS OF THE WEEK: Closing pitches among Republicans

Ahead of the primary, Republican candidates in crowded federal races made their final pitches to voters via campaign ads and last-minute voter outreach — most with a variation on a “Biden sucks” theme. 

In the U.S. Senate Republican primary, front-runner Sam Brown has an ad running that highlights him as ready to “stand strong against the Biden-Harris progressive agenda.” His top competitor, Jeff Gunter, has run ads in Spanish and English touting his ambassadorship under former President Donald Trump. 

In the Congressional District 3 primary, Republican candidate Marty O’Donnell has highlighted his Gov. Joe Lombardo endorsement and promised to “stand with President Trump to end the invasion at our southern border.” His main opponent, Dan Schwartz, has portrayed himself as someone who will “ruin Joe Biden’s day.”

And in Congressional District 4, the former North Las Vegas mayor is taking advantage of being the only House candidate with a Trump endorsement, noting that the former president “stands with John Lee.”

Tabitha Mueller and Gabby Birenbaum


  • U.S. Senate race: Jacky Rosen - MAGA Extremist Sam Brown
    • Began airing: 5/22
    • Total spend: $362,200
    • Ad impressions (number of times an advertisement was seen, regardless of whether the user took any action): 13.4 million
  • U.S. Senate race: Jacky Rosen - Do Something
    • Began airing: 5/22
    • Total spend: $284,600
    • Ad impressions: 10.2 million
  • Presidential race: Joe Biden -  Stop the Invasion
    • Began airing: 5/21
    • Total spend: $232,100
    • Ad impressions: 3.4 million
  • Presidential race: Joe Biden - Dictator
    • Began airing: 5/24
    • Total spend: $216,500
    • Ad impressions: 8.5 million


  • The libertarian conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has been airing ads targeting various Democratic elected officials, including Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). In a recent ad, the group affiliated with Charles Koch and the late David Koch attacked Rosen for “Bidenomics” and her support of the Inflation Reduction Act. 


Tabitha Mueller

The Lightning Round

✍️ Lombardo pens NYT op-ed on Trump, economy — In a Monday op-ed in The New York Times, Lombardo outlined why he thinks the state’s economy is driving polling that shows Trump leading over Biden. He cited inflation since Biden took office, higher interest rates and rising home prices, reiterating his support for freeing up federal land for housing development. Notably, the piece does not delve into Lombardo’s mixed feelings about Trump — shown through his initial hesitancy to endorse the former president and tightrope-walking statement after Trump’s felony conviction last month.

🫏 Dems ramp up Trump attacks ahead of rally — The Democratic National Committee launched billboards in Las Vegas on Saturday, calling Trump a “convicted white-collar crook” and a “disaster for Nevada’s economy.” The progressive group Battle Born Progress also released two mobile billboards on Trump’s conviction and efforts to curtain abortion access, and Biden’s campaign held an event Friday with union workers, who accused Trump of selling out the middle class.

💸 Culinary Union refuses to be wooed — In response to Trump’s promise at a campaign rally to stop taxing tips that workers receive, the Culinary Union issued a statement pushing back against the former president. “Relief is definitely needed for tip earners, but Nevada workers are smart enough to know the difference between real solutions and wild campaign promises from a convicted felon,” the union said.

🩺 Brown supports contraception and fertility treatment access — Asked whether he would support legislation in the Senate to codify the right to contraception or fertility treatment, Republican U.S. Senate front-runner Sam Brown said he supports access to both but did not specify if he would have voted for Senate legislation to codify the right to either. He added that he did not see a need for such legislation.

“The thing that concerns me about these sorts of bills is that I’ve not heard any Republican who is against contraception or against IVF,” he said. “So I’m not sure why these bills are coming up.”

Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

Looking Ahead

🧑‍⚖️ Tuesday, June 18 — Two hearings are being held next Tuesday in key election-related court cases. At 10 a.m., a Clark County judge will hear arguments about the effort to dismiss the case against Nevada’s six so-called “fake electors,” whom a grand jury indicted last year of falsifying records that claimed Trump won the 2020 election. At 1 p.m., a federal judge will weigh a motion to dismiss a GOP-led lawsuit that alleged lax voter roll maintenance in Nevada is leading to “impossibly high” voter registration rates.

Eric Neugeboren

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

We’ll see you next week.

This story was updated at 12:00 p.m. on 6/11/24 to add more context to Sam Brown’s comments on contraception and IVF.


Featured Videos