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Lombardo-backed legislative candidates leading in primary election

Updated June 12, 2024 - 9:22 pm

Gov. Joe Lombardo’s bid to block a Democratic supermajority in the state Legislature looks set to pass its first test.

All eleven of the Republican governor’s endorsed candidates were leading in primary election races, unofficial election results as of Tuesday evening showed.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Lombardo said he was excited about the candidates’ prospects for victory despite election results still rolling in.

“Some really good candidates emerged tonight that are committed to a shared, common-sense agenda focused on lowering costs for Nevada families, adding choice and accountability to our education system and restoring balance in state government,” Lombardo said. “I look forward to campaigning with these great candidates and will do my part to send trusted leaders to Carson City next year.”

Lombardo has thrown his support behind several legislative candidates in an attempt to stop Democrats from gaining a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly and Senate.

Republicans would need to maintain their current seat count in the Senate or pick up just one seat in the Assembly to prevent Democrats from gaining a veto-proof majority.

Lombardo-backed winners advance

Several Lombardo-backed candidates faced competitive primaries, including Senate District 18 candidate John Steinbeck.

Steinbeck, who serves as the Clark County fire chief, was leading with 59.6 percent of the vote as of Tuesday evening, beating out entrepreneur Josh Leavitt and Assemblyman Richard McArthur.

The winner will face Democrat Ronald Bilodeau, a candidate who won 42.9 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.

In another notable Republican primary, Lombardo-backed John Ellison had 55.7 percent of the vote in far-reaching Senate District 19 as of Tuesday evening.

The former assemblyman was leading veteran and health care executive William “Bill” Hockstedler” and Nye County School Board Trustee Chelsy Fischer for the seat and will advance unchallenged through the general election if he wins.

Four Lombardo-endorsed candidates had a sweat-free primary without opponents and automatically advanced to the November election. Southern Nevadans will see three of those races on their ballots this fall.

Lisa Cole, who is running for Assembly District 4, will face Assembly Democratic Caucus-backed candidate Ryan Hampton. Lombardo-endorsed Rebecca Edgeworth will face caucus-backed Sharifa Wahab in Assembly District 35. In Assembly District 37, incumbent Assemblywoman Shea Backus will face David Brog, who was endorsed by the governor.

Other closely watched races

In the closely watched Senate District 3 race, incumbent Sen. Rochelle Nguyen was leading Culinary union-backed challenger Geoconda Hughes, gaining 55.2 percent of the vote as of Tuesday returns.

In a statement posted to X late Tuesday evening, Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge recognized Hughes for her run for the seat.

“Culinary Union recognizes Nurse Geoconda Hughes for showing courage and stepping up to run for office and for leading a principled campaign that centered on the real issues that Nevadans are facing,” Pappageorge said in the statement. “There is no better Democrat that we would rather be in the trenches with.”

The winner will face Republican candidate Brent Howard and nonpartisan candidate Keya Jones in November.

Culinary probably clinched a win over the caucus in the Assembly District 17 race. Linda Hunt, a Culinary union leader and food server, garnered 64.1 percent of the vote, leading caucus-backed candidate Mishon Montgomery and Chauntille Roberts.

Hunt probably will face Republican candidate Robert Olson in the general election.

In Senate District 1, Michelle “Shelly” Crawford was leading over Assemblywoman Claire Thomas, receiving 53.8 percent of the vote as of Tuesday evening. The winner will face off for the seat against Republican Patricia Brinkley in November.

Winners determined

In other primary races, Tuesday’s results determined the winner of the seat.

In Senate District 4, incumbent Sen. Dina Neal handily fended off Regent Laura Perkins in the Democratic primary, leading with more than 72.3 percent of the vote.

No Republican filed to run for the seat, so the winner with automatically win in November.

In Assembly District 7, Tanya Flanagan, a one-time candidate for County Commission and caucus-backed candidate, was leading James Fennell III with 80.6 percent of the vote. The winner will advance automatically through the general election.

In Assembly District 10, Assembly Democratic Caucus-backed candidate Venise Karris held 47.3 percent of the vote, leading over Val Thomason and Kyle Greenwood. The retired electrician probably will face Libertarian candidate Sean Moore in the general election.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro congratulated Democratic Senate candidates on their victories and took aim at Republicans.

“Senate Republicans have nominated a slate of candidates who will stand in the way of more affordable housing, cheaper prescription drugs and health care, increased clean energy and who want to radically roll back reproductive rights,” Cannizzaro said in a statement Wednesday. “We look forward to making our case to voters in the fall.”

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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