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Spiegel holds lead in contested District 7 Senate seat in Las Vegas

Updated June 10, 2020 - 9:50 am

Five-term Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel maintained her lead over two other candidates in the Democratic primary that will decide who takes over Nevada’s Senate District 7 seat in Las Vegas, while lopsided outcomes in two other Senate primary contests saw little change in updated returns Friday.

With about 5,600 votes counted as of Friday morning, Spiegel had 39.2 percent; Roberta Lange, who had the Democratic Senate caucus backing, held 34.6 percent; and another five-term lawmaker, Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, held 26.2 percent. Spiegel’s lead was 264 votes with abotu 70 percent of precincts reporting.

“This campaign has been nontraditional since the COVID-19 crisis began in mid-March, and I’m very proud that my team and I spent so much time checking in on constituents and helping them get needed resources,” Spiegel said after first returns were reported early Wednesday.

In two other Senate contests, Liz Becker still held a nearly 9-to-1 advantage over Ron Bilodeau in the District 18 Democratic primary.

In the District 11 Republican primary, Josh Dowden led Edward Galindo by a nearly 4-to-1 margin in initial returns.

All results remain unofficial until the official recanvassing concludes June 19.

With no Republican in the race, the three-way District 7 contest will determine who will succeed Sen. David Parks, who is stepping down because of term limits. Spiegel cited her legislative experience, including her service on the Assembly’s budget-writing committee. Lange, a former teacher, has served three terms as chair of the state Democratic Party and said she chose to run sensing an opportunity in the open race. She put education at the top of her concerns.

Carrillo, a self-described moderate Democrat, said he wanted to represent “the average, everyday Nevadan.”

In District 18 in northwest Clark County, Becker, an environmental scientist, led Bilodeau, a telecommunications consultant, 88 percent to 12 percent, with about half of precincts reporting. The winner will face incumbent Republican Scott Hammond, who is seeking his third four-year term.

Becker ran with the backing of the Democratic Senate caucus. She decided to run a year ago, leaving her job as the Southern Nevada Water Authority last July to focus on the race. Bilodeau works as a consultant after retiring last year from a career in telecommunications and then in operations management for NV Energy.

“We are seeing record turnout across the valley, but especially here in (Senate District) 18,” Becker said Thursday, claiming victory and thanking her opponent for “a race well run.”

Bilodeau Thursday said it was “important for individuals to step forward and participate in the political process” so voters have a choice and turn out to vote.

Initial results in the District 11 Republican primary showed Dowden, a financial adviser, ahead of Galindo, an ex-corrections officer, 78 percent to 22 percent, with 52 percent precincts reporting. The winner will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Dallas Harris in November.

In the race, Dowden focused on Nevada’s near-the-bottom state ranking in education and the state’s shortage of doctors and nurses. He also had deep concern for how Nevada will rebound from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dowden on Thursday thanked Galindo for “running a spirited campaign” and said he looked forward to discussing and listening to district voters “to bring safety, good jobs, and education reform to Nevada.”

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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