In Nevada Senate District 4, the primary is the general, and non-Democrats need not apply. Incumbent Sen. Kelvin Atkinson and newcomer Stephen Harvey Munford are the only candidates, and both are Democrats.
Under a new state law, the winner of the Democratic primary will advance unopposed to the general, leaving almost 39 percent of the district’s voters with no real choice in November.
Democrats outnumber Republicans 4-to-1 and make up 61 percent of the electorate in District 4. Atkinson is a seasoned lawmaker, with five terms in the Assembly and one in the Senate.
Munford is the son of 12-year Assemblyman Harvey Munford, who is losing his seat to term limits.
In October, the elder Munford said he was considering a run against Atkinson. Instead, his son joined the race, proudly touting his middle and last names on the ballot and his campaign materials.
Atkinson said he thinks the younger Munford is hoping voters will mistake him for his father.
“There’s a little bit of bamboozling going on there, but voters aren’t stupid,” said Atkinson, a 24-year resident and father of one who made history in 2014 when he and his partner became the first same-sex couple to marry in Nevada.
If re-elected, Atkinson said he will keep working to create jobs as he did with a 2015 bill that opened Nevada to ride-sharing companies and through his support for highway projects and incentive deals for electric car companies Tesla and Faraday Future.
But Munford questioned how much those things are really helping people in the district, where unemployment and poverty rates remain higher than in other parts of the valley.
He said Atkinson seems out of touch with District 4, which Munford has called home since 1988. As for any “bamboozling,” the high school coach and married father of two said he is proud of his father and his name.
If he can use that to his advantage against an established incumbent, Munford said he’s happy to do it.
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