Election 2018
Indy Primer: What races to watch for on Primary Election Day
By
Riley Snyder
Megan Messerly
Citizens cast their ballots during the first day of early voting at Cardenas Market on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars expended on ads and voter outreach, Nevada’s primary election is finally here.

Not only will the results of today’s election set in place the top contests on the November ballot, including one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate battles in the country and an open gubernatorial seat, but many important races will be effectively decided based on Tuesday’s results, including a seat on the powerful Clark County Commission and the county’s district attorney.

Voting will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with results trickling in after polls close. More than 157,000 people cast ballots during the state’s two-week early voting period, and more than 22,000 cast absentee or mail ballots ahead of Election Day. More than 93,000 people, or 39 percent of the final electorate, turned out on Election Day for the 2016 primary election.

Today is also the first day that Clark County is using vote centers, polling places where anyone can go on election day instead of a traditional assigned precinct. Find the one nearest to your home or place of work here. In Washoe County, you can find your precinct here if you know your precinct number or search for it here.

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know today:

The basics


Statewide

  • The big race to watch today is the competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary between Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani. Sisolak, buoyed by support from former Sen. Harry Reid, has raised massive sums over the last year and a half and spent much of it on advertisements, but Giunchigliani has also raised a sizable amount and has been boosted by millions of dollars in outside spending and a late endorsement from Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, Attorney General Adam Laxalt is expected to cruise to victory against state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and businessman Jared FisherFor more on the candidate’s records:
    Steve Sisolak | Chris Giunchigliani | Adam Laxalt | Dan Schwartz
  • Republican state Senate Leader Michael Roberson is facing primary challenges from former Assemblyman Brent Jones, businessman Eugene Hoover, Scott LaFata and Gary Meyers in his bid to replace Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison. Former state Treasurer Kate Marshall is expected to easily win the state’s Democratic primary election against Laurie HansenFor more on the candidate’s records:
    Michael Roberson | Kate Marshall
  • As Attorney General Adam Laxalt pursues a bid for Nevada’s top office, a host of candidates are vying to replace them. Former first assistant attorney general Wes Duncan will face off against former Clark County deputy district attorney Craig Mueller in the Republican primary. State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford is expected to cruise to victory in the Democratic primary. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Wes Duncan | Craig Mueller | Aaron Ford
  • Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is expected to easily fend off a primary challenge from political unknown Ernest Aldridge. Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, who announced his plan to challenge Cegavske in March, isn’t facing any primary challenges.
  • Republicans Derek Uehara and former Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers are facing off in the Republican primary for state treasurer, which is being vacated by incumbent Dan Schwartz. Democrat Zach Conine, who has outpaced both Republicans in fundraising, is not facing a primary challenge. There will be no primaries for the state’s candidates for state controller — incumbent Republican Ron Knecht and Democrat Catherine Byrne.
  • Three seats on the Nevada Supreme Court are up on the ballot in 2018, but primary voters will only get a say in the race for retiring Justice Michael Cherry’s seat. District Court Judge Elissa Cadish has led the field in the fundraising in the nonpartisan statewide race, with Appeals Court Judge Jerry Tao, Leon Aberasturi, Alan Lefebvre and John Rutledge. The top two vote getters will advance to the general election.


U.S. Senate and House races:

  • Although it will likely be one of the top midterm races in the county come November, both Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen are expected to easily cruise to victory on Tuesday. Heller has faced little-to-no intraparty opposition since one-time challenger Danny Tarkanian jumped into the race for the state’s 3rd Congressional District in March, prompted by a tweet from the president. Rosen faces little threat from her five primary opponents, including attorney Jesse Sbaih, who ran against Rosen for Congress in 2016 and loaned $2 million to his primary campaign this year but has spent little of it.
  • Businessman Danny Tarkanian is the favorite to win the Republican primary in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (again), but it’s still possible he could face an upset from state Sen. Scott Hammond or former television news reporter Michelle Mortensen.  Whoever comes out on top from this bitter primary will likely face Democratic education advocate and philanthropist Susie Lee, who faces little threat in her primary, on the November ballot. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Scott Hammond | David McKeon | Michelle Mortensen | Danny Tarkanian | Susie Lee
  • In Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, a crowded field of Democratic candidates are vying to replace Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who decided not to run for office after a series of allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in December. The presumed frontrunner is former Rep. Steven Horsford, who represented the district from 2013 to 2015, though he faces serious primary challengers in the form of state Sen. Pat Spearman, Nevada System of Higher Education regent Allison Stephens and Medicare for All activist Amy Vilela. Here’s what you need to know about the candidates. On the Republican side, former Rep. Cresent Hardy has significantly outraised his five primary opponents. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Steven Horsford | Pat Spearman | Allison Stephens | Amy Vilela
  • Six Democrats are vying for the honor of making a longshot run for Republican Rep. Mark Amodei’s seat in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. No Democrat has ever come within five points of defeating a Republican for the seat. Amodei is facing a primary challenge from former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who has lagged him in fundraising.
  • Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is facing a primary challenge in Nevada’s 1st Congressional District from underdog teacher Reuben D’Silva in the state’s most Democratic district in terms of voter registration.


Legislature

  • Nine Assembly and three state Senate seats will effectively be decided on primary night, although Democrats are essentially guaranteed to keep control of both houses in November. Here’s a rundown of what races to keep an eye on tonight.


Clark County

  • Down South, there are two primaries for the Clark County School District Board of Trustees in District D and District F. Here’s what to look for.
  • Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson is trying to fend off a late challenge from longtime criminal defense attorney Robert Langford, who has been boosted by millions in outside money from national progressive groups. Because both candidates are Democrats and no other candidates filed to run, the race will be decided on Tuesday. For more on the candidate’s records, here’s Steve Wolfson and Rob Langford’s On the Record.
  • Control of a seat on the Clark County Commission will effectively be decided Tuesday, with likely frontrunners including state Sen. Tick Segerblom and union organizer Marco Hernandez. The district, which is currently held by Giunchigliani, has an overwhelming Democratic advantage in voter registration, so the winner will likely have an easy path to victory in November.
  • Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo is hoping to avoid a runoff election with any of his four challengers, including former North Las Vegas police lieutenant Tim Bedwell, by capturing more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Lombardo, who won an initial four-year term in 2014, has significantly outraised his opponents and can automatically capture another term if he garners a majority vote.


Washoe County

  • Voters in Washoe County will head to the polls to choose their party’s nominees in primaries for Reno mayor and City Council, Sparks mayor and City Council, Washoe County Commission. This overview narrows what to watch for up north today.


Disclosure: Several Indy donors are mentioned in this story. You can see a full list of donors here.

INDY FAST FACTS Pat Spearman Job: State senator, District 1 Party: Democratic In current office: 2012-present Birthdate: June 10, 1955 Education: Norfolk State University (B.S.) Seminary of the Southwest, MDiv. (Master of divinity) Walden University, DBA (Doctorate of business administration) Other public offices held: Nevada state senator, District 1 (2012-present) Total Donations: $562,981 (3/27/12-3/31/18) Top Donors: International Union of Operating Engineers $20,000 MGM Resorts International $12, 640 Caesars Entertainment Corp. $ 12,000 R&S Leasing LLC $11,000 Boyd Gaming $10,000
INDY FAST FACTS Brent Jones Job: Businessman Party: Republican In current office: None Birthdate: July 14, 1963 Education: California State University, Northridge (B.S.) Pepperdine University (J.D.) Public offices held: Assemblyman (2014-2016) Total Donations: $272,861 (2/9/12-5/25/18) Top Donors: Brent Jones/Real Water/Affinity Lifestyles $167,413 Ahern Rentals $13,100 Keystone Corporation $7,500 Las Vegas Sands $7,500 Southpoint Hotel and Casino $5,000
INDY FAST FACTS Danny Tarkanian Job: Businessman Party: Republican In current office: None Birthdate: Dec. 18, 1961 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A.) University of San Diego (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total Donations: $3,443,619 (8/18/04-5/23/18) Top Donors: Danny Tarkanian $528,440 Stations Casino $74,550 Las Vegas Sands Corp $38,900 Domain.com $26,600 Maloof family $18,000
INDY FAST FACTS Michelle Mortensen Job: Former television reporter Party: Republican In current office: None Birthdate: February 8, 1977 Other public offices held: None Total donations: $130,999 (10/1/17-5/23/18) Top donors: Wynn Resorts $10,800 ICL Systems $10,500 MGM Resorts $10,000 A Wilsey Properties $5,400 Broidy Capital $5,400 Last report: 5/23/18 Source: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Kate Marshall Job: Lawyer Party: Democrat In current office: None Birthdate:  July 22, 1959 Education: University of California, Berkeley (B.A. and J.D.) Other public offices held: State treasurer (2007-2015) Total donations: $1,255,965 (1/4/07-6/7/18) Top donors: MGM Resorts International $45,000 South Point Casino/F&M Advertising $17,500 Boyd Gaming $15,500 Int'l Brotherhood of Teamsters (DRIVE Committee) $15,000 Todd Marshall  $14,975
INDY FAST FACTS Barbara Cegavske             Job: Secretary of state Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: August 27, 1951 Education: College of Southern Nevada (attended) Other public offices held: State senator, District 8 (2002-2014) Assemblywoman, District 5 (1996-2001) Total donations: $717,287 (10/22/10-6/7/18) Top donors: Cort Christie/Zenith/Corporate NV Svc  $44,199 Las Vegas Sands Corp. $30,000 Bill and Cynthia Brady $20,000 Allegiant Travel/Maury Gallagher $14,000 Wynn Resorts $13,000
INDY FAST FACTS Nelson Araujo Job: Assemblyman, District 3 Party: Democratic In current office: 2015-present Assistant majority floor leader, 2017 Birthdate: October 24, 1987 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A. and M.P.A.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $549,239 (1/28/14-5/18/18) Top donors: Campaign Committee for Jason M. Frierson $11,000 Citizens for Justice $11,000 MGM Resorts International $11,000 Nevada Realtors PAC $11,000 LVPPAM Inc PAC $10,000
INDY FAST FACTS Wes Duncan Job: Attorney-Hutchison & Steffen Party: Republican In current office: None Birthdate: December 26, 1980 Education:  Columbia College (A.A.) University of California Berkeley (B.A.) Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law (J.D.) Other public offices held: Assemblyman, District 37 (2012-2014) Total donations: $1,346,156 (11/6/11-6/6/18) Top donors: Las Vegas Sands Corp. $40,000 Station Casinos/Zuffa $24,000 Keystone Corporation $22,500 Republican Assembly Victory Fund & Leaders Caucus $20,000 Starpoint Resort Inc.  $20,000
INDY FAST FACTS Ron Knecht Job: State controller Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: May 5, 1949 Education: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (B.A.) Stanford University (Master of Engineering) University of San Francisco (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada System of Higher Education Regent (2006-2014) Assemblyman, District 40 (2002-2004) Total donations: $286,834 (4/17/12-5/18/18) Top donors: Ron Knecht $144,789 Smack (James, Vicki, Laurence, Nancy) $38,550 Far West Radio LLC/Weinberg $21,100 Sierra Nevada Republican Women $5,800 Frederick Dirienzio $5,000
INDY FAST FACTS Michael Roberson Job: State senate minority leader Party: Republican In current office: 2010-present Senate Republican leader since 2015 Birthdate: June 20, 1970 Education: University of Kansas (B.S.) University of Kansas School of Law (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $1,888,972 (5/28/10-5/25/17) Top donors: Las Vegas Sands $55,000 Station Casinos/Zuffa $47,500 Boyd Gaming $35,000 MGM Resorts International $25,000 Wynn Resorts $22,000
INDY FAST FACTS Mark Amodei Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: June 12, 1958 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) University of Pacific (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada Republican Party chairman (2010-2011) State senator, Capital District (1998-2010) Assemblyman (1996-1999) Total donations: $3,720,285 (2009-2018) Top donors: Barrick Gold $43,000 Las Vegas Sands $42,100 Sierra Nevada Corp $39,000 American Society of Anesthesiologists $39,000 National Association of Home Builders $37,000 Last Report: 5/23/18 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Steve Sisolak Job: Clark County commission chairman Party: Democrat In current office: 2009-present Commission chairman since 2013 Birthdate: December 26, 1953 Education: University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee (B.S.) University of Nevada, Las Vegas (M.B.A.) Other public offices held: Nevada System of Higher Education Regent (1999-2009) Total donations: $9,643,393 (1/12/11-5/31/18) Top donors: MGM Resorts International $174,359 Station Casinos/Zuffa: $90,000 Las Vegas Sands $75,000 Fidelity National $61,600 Marnell Companies LLC $55,000
INDY FAST FACTS Dan Schwartz Job: State treasurer Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: July 28, 1950 Education: Princeton University (B.A.) Columbia University (M.B.A.) Boston University (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $1,297,546 (9/16/13-5/30/18) Top donors: Dan Schwartz $1,000,353 Pritzker (Anthony, Karen, Jenny) $20,603 Schwartz (Stephen, Yanan, Dana) $15,000
INDY FAST FACTS Scott Hammond Job: State senator, District 18 Party: Republican In current office: 2012-present Birthdate:  December 20, 1966 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A., M.A.) Other public offices held: Assemblyman, District 13 (2010-2012) Total donations: $804,734 (2011-2017) Top donors: Las Vegas Sands $30,000 MGM Resorts International $20,000 New Nevada PAC $15,000 Boyd Gaming $14,000 Nevada Subcontractors Assn PAC $12,500 Station Casinos $12,500
INDY FAST FACTS Mark Hutchison Job: Lieutenant Governor Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: May 5, 1963 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.S.) Brigham Young University, Utah (J.D.) Other public offices held: State senator, District 6 (2013-2014) Total donations: $4,039,967 (1/08/12-12/15/16) Top donors: Marnell Companies LLC $75,000 Wynn Resorts $70,000 Las Vegas Sands $40,000 Station Casinos $39,500 MGM Resorts International $34,000
INDY FAST FACTS Dina Titus Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 1st Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2013-present Birthdate: May 23, 1950 Education: College of William and Mary (B.A.) University of Georgia (M.A.) Florida State University, Tallahassee (Ph.D.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (2009-2010) State Senator, District 7 (1989-2008) Total donations: $8,158,737 (2007-2018) Top donors:  MGM Resorts International $136,060 University of Nevada $62,859 Carpenters & Joiners Union $60,000 Rocky Research $58,300 Painters & Allied Trades Union $57,000 Last Report: 5/23/18 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Jacky Rosen Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birthdate: August 2, 1957 Education: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (B.A.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $7,133,798 (2017-2018) Top donors: EMILY's List $178,768 League of Conservation Voters $80,270 DE Shaw & Co $69,500 University of Nevada $40,038 Omni New York $32,400 Last Report: 6/11/18 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Ruben Kihuen Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 4th Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birhdate: April 25, 1980 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A.) Other public offices held: State Senator, District 10 (2010-2016) State Assemblyman, District 11 (2007-2010) Total donations: $987,929 (2012-2018) Top donors: Naqvi Injury Law $10,800 Border Health $10,000 Jobs, Opportunities & Education PAC $10,000 Tpp Export America $10,000 UNITE HERE $10,000 Last Report: 12/31/2017 Credit:  Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Chris Giunchigliani Job: Clark County Commissioner Party: Democrat In current office: 2007-present Birthdate: November 27, 1954 Education: Avila College (B.A.) University of Nevada, Las Vegas (M.A.) Other public offices held: State Assemblywoman, District 9 (1991-2006) Total donations: $2,895,818 (5/08/13-6/7/18) Top donors: Giunchigliani (Chris, Jeanne, JM, Larry, Myrna, Ellen): $65,000 MGM Resorts International $43,165 Caesars Entertainment $35,000 Buck and Aurora Wong $30,000 South Point Hotel & Casino/F&M Advertising $30,000
INDY FAST FACTS Aaron Ford Job: State Senate Majority Leader Party: Democrat In current office: 2012-present *Senate Democratic Leader since 2015 Birthdate: May 24, 1972 Education: Texas A&M University (B.A.) George Washington University (M.A.) Ohio State University (M.A., J.D., Ph.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $2,314,213 (1/01/10 - 6/7/18) Top donors: Station Casinos $30,000 MGM Resorts International $28,500 Boyd Gaming $20,500 Nevada State Education Association $20,032 Citizens for Justice Trust $18,000 Caesars Entertainment $18,000
INDY FAST FACTS Dean Heller Job: U.S. Senator Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: May 10, 1960 Education: University of Southern California (B.A.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada's 2nd Congressional District (2007-2011) Nevada Secretary of State (1995-2007) State Assemblyman (1990-1994) Total donations: $21,463,574 (2005-2018) Top donors: Station Casinos $117,900 Votesane PAC $92,000 MGM Resorts International $74,500 Blackstone Group $48,400 Capital Group $38,800 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Adam Laxalt Job: Nevada State Attorney General Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: August 31, 1978 Education: Georgetown University (B.A.) Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $8,262,050 (1/08/14 - 6/07/18) Top donors: Station Casinos/Zuffa/Fertitta $208,500 Las Vegas Sands $75,000 Marnell Properties LLC $42,500 Starpoint Resort Group/Partners $40,000 MGM Resorts $35,000
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