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Democratic Party set to regain control of state Assembly, Senate

CARSON CITY — Democrats who were swept from legislative majorities in the “Red Wave” of 2014 returned the favor Tuesday, winning back control of both the Senate and Assembly in the run-up to the 2017 legislative session.

Democrats won the critical open Senate District 6 in Las Vegas, where Nicole Cannizzaro edged out Republican Victoria Seaman 51 percent to 49 percent with 100 percent of precincts counted.

Henderson Democrat incumbent Joyce Woodhouse also won reelection to her Senate 5 seat with a slim 48 percent to 47 percent victory over GOP challenger Carrie Buck. The race also had a Libertarian candidate, Tim Hagen.

Republicans had an 11-10 Senate majority going into election night, but Democrats now have an 11-10 edge based on the final, but unofficial, returns from Clark County.

In the Assembly, Democrats appeared to have won 10 seats that had been held by Republicans, defeating seven GOP incumbents and taking three open seats. Republicans had an uphill battle, with 11 GOP-controlled seats in jeopardy because of Democratic voter registration edges.

Democrats won nine of those races, needing only to pick up five GOP seats to retake the majority they held in 2013. Democrats also won in a 10th district in Sparks that has a Republican voter registration advantage. In that Assembly 31 race, Democrat Skip Daly won by three votes over incumbent Republican Jill Dickman with more than 31,000 votes cast, but some ballots remained to be counted by hand.

Democrats would have a 27-15 advantage in the 42-member Assembly if none of the results change.

There was no immediate comment from Democrats or Republicans on the results.

Democratic control of both houses of the Legislature will dramatically change the dynamic for the 2017 session following 2015, when Republicans controlled both houses with Republican Brian Sandoval in the governor’s office.

One likely casualty is the program approved by Republicans in 2015 to pay for tuition at private and religiously affiliated schools. The program was ruled constitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court, but the funding mechanism was found invalid, requiring lawmakers to act. With majorities in both houses, Democrats are unlikely to support funding for the program.

Other elements of the GOP agenda from 2015, from collective bargaining changes for public unions to tort reform, could also be nonstarters for Democrats now that they have retaken control of the Nevada Legislature.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter. Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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