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Several winners declared in ‘surprisingly efficient’ Nevada primary election

Updated June 11, 2024 - 11:59 pm

GOP frontrunner Sam Brown won his Senate primary race Tuesday, bringing about a November match-up between himself and Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen in what is expected to be a closely watched and competitive Senate race.

Brown, who received both Gov. Joe Lombardo’s and former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, had about 59 percent of the votes as of 11:40 p.m., according to The Associated Press, which called the race shortly after 8 p.m. Dr. Jeff Gunter was in second, with former Assemblyman Jim Marchant in third.

“I’m thankful to everyone who propelled us to victory tonight, and I invite all Nevadans to stand with us as we work toward victory in November,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday night.

Nevada’s primary Tuesday saw lower voter turnout than previous primaries, but results were called relatively quickly — a sign the battleground state known for slow production of results could be turning a new leaf.

Besides the Senate race, voters cast their ballots for primary contests up and down the ballot, including in races for Las Vegas mayor, Clark County School Board and a host of other local government seats.

In the Las Vegas Mayor’s race, Shelley Berkley led with 35.3 percent of the vote as on 11:40 p.m. Councilwoman Victoria Seaman trailed by 29.5 percent, followed by Councilman Cedric Crear 18.7 percent. If no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.

Competitive House races also results come in late Tuesday night. Conservative policy analyst Drew Johnson won the primary in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District — which saw a crowded GOP field with some well-known names, including former state Treasurer Dan Schwartz, former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien and ‘Halo’ composer Marty O’Donnell. He will face Democratic Rep. Susie Lee in November.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Mark Robertson will get another chance at defeating longtime Democratic Rep. Dina Titus. Robertson, who previously ran against Titus in 2022, won his primary race Tuesday night, receiving 48.4 percent of the vote to restaurateur Flemming Larsen’s 39 percent as of 11:40 p.m.

Former North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee was leading in the GOP primary for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. He had received 48.1 percent of the votes, while David Flippo received 45.4 percent, as of 11 p.m.

Batches of results were released within about an hour after the polls closed, earlier than previous years.

Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar had made it a goal to release results more quickly and notified county clerks to begin tabulating early votes and mail ballots at 8 a.m. on Election Day, and be ready to release those first batches as soon as all the polls closed.

“I thought today was a much smoother process, you know, getting that information out to Nevada voters,” Aguilar said Tuesday night in a press call. “That’s our goal is constantly looking at state law, looking at the statute and saying, ‘How can we improve these efficiencies? How can we improve these processes so that we’re getting information to the Nevada voter?”

Lower turnout

Nevada saw lower voter turnout than previous years.

In early voting and through mail ballots, 257,344 Nevadans voted, representing 12.9 percent of Nevada’s total electorate. By the close of polls on Election Day, nearly 68,000 more Nevadans had voted, bringing it to about 16 percent of Nevada’s total electorate.

In the 2020 primary, 29.5 percent of registered voters participated, although that election was conducted entirely through absentee ballots. The 2022 primary saw a nearly 26 percent turnout. The 2016 primary saw a total turnout of 18.5 percent and an Election Day turnout of nearly 39 percent.

Aguilar does not know why there was a low turnout, but said everybody has a lot going on.

“I can say the November election is going to be super competitive,” Aguilar said. “Nevada is going to have a significant role in the national election, and I hope Nevadans recognize the value of their vote.”

‘Surprisingly efficient’

Nevadans set out to vote across the valley, where temperatures reached 107 degrees in certain areas Tuesday afternoon.

While voter turnout was lower than in previous years, those who cast a ballot expressed enthusiasm.

Nina Ageef, 97, and her daughter Radha Ageef voted in Tuesday’s primary for Gunter in the Senate race. They said they’re excited to vote in November for Trump.

Former Nevada Gov. Richard Bryan, 86, voted at the Sahara West Library and plans to vote for Rosen and Lee in hopes of securing a Democratic majority in Congress to counteract Trump’s influence if he is elected.

“I think that a threat to our democracy is the overriding, the most important issue to me,” said Bryan, who also served as a U.S. senator from 1989 to 2001.

In Henderson, City Council Ward 2 candidate Monica Larson filmed a video on her cellphone for her supporters after voting at Sun City Anthem’s community center.

Her brief voting experience, she said, was “very efficient, surprisingly efficient, so I really enjoyed it.”

“Painless,” the candidate added.

Larson said people feel powerless when it comes to elected officials’ decisions.

“The only way to create change is to exercise your vote,” she said. “That’s your weapon. Vote.”

Tuesday was some Southern Nevadans’ first time voting, like Las Vegas resident Benjamin Vinocur.

“Democracy is on the line this year,” Vinocur, 18, said.

Vinocur said it’s important for young people to vote because youth are underrepresented in politics. He said he voted because Trump is on the ballot again and Project 2025 concerns him.

Project 2025, also known as the Presidential Transition Project, would aim to reshape the federal government if a Republican wins the 2024 presidential race.

“This Project 25 stuff scares the hell out of me,” he said.

Vinocur listed democracy and reproductive rights as top concerns, and “if I had to say a third one, just because I don’t like Trump,” he said at the Cambridge Recreation Center, 3930 Cambridge St.

For the latest primary results, visit lvrj.com/results.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X. Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X. Staff writers Annie Vong, Ella Thompson and Ricardo Torres-Cortez contributed to this report.

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