The chalk prevailed in Tuesday’s primary elections, setting the stage for a slew of high-profile statewide races in November that will help determine control of the U.S. Congress.
Meanwhile, reports of a progressive revolution in Nevada are apparently exaggerated. Hyperliberal County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani got creamed by the more moderate Steve Sisolak in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Robert Langford, who courted progressives while advertising himself as a friend of the Trump resistance, took a beating in his effort to unseat District Attorney Steve Wolfson. In the Democratic primary for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, both Amy Vilela and state Sen. Pat Spearman ran as Bernie Sanders acolytes. The more centrist Steven Horsford, who previously held the seat, won handily.
As the campaigns transition to the general, the races for governor and the Senate will grab the bulk of the attention.
Republican Adam Laxalt, currently serving as attorney general, will take on Mr. Sisolak, who chairs the Clark County Commission, in the contest to replace GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is term-limited. Mr. Sisolak was forced left in the primary but has historically taken a more middle-of-the-road approach to the issues. His challenge now will be to square his leftward primary drift with his effort to attract nonpartisan and independent voters. With the Legislature essentially a lock to remain in Democratic hands, Nevada voters must decide whether they’d be comfortable with Mr. Sisolak in the governor’s mansion or whether they’d prefer the conservative Mr. Laxalt, who would be far more likely to stand as a roadblock to liberal overreach.
As expected, incumbent U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican, will face first-term Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen in November. The race promises to be one of the most closely watched in the country. Democrats believe Sen. Heller to be the upper chamber’s most vulnerable Republican. The Senate electoral map is stacked heavily in favor of the GOP this cycle, so this is a must-win for Democrats if they are to have any hope of capturing the upper chamber. Sen. Heller hauled away more than 70 percent of the vote Tuesday, alleviating concerns he had alienated his base by moving to the center on some issues, including the repeal of Obamacare.
There were few surprises in the state’s congressional primaries. Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, and Rep. Mark Amodei, a Republican, represent safe seats in Nevada’s 1st and 2nd Congressional districts, respectively. Both should glide to re-election. CD4 will feature a rematch of the 2014 contest in which Republican Cresent Hardy upset Mr. Horsford. Voters in the 3rd Congressional District will choose between Republican Danny Tarkanian and Democrat Susie Lee in a competitive race that will help determine whether Democrats regain control of the U.S. House.
November’s midterms promise to be the most consequential in recent times. The results in Nevada will have national ramifications. Those who are averse to aggressive politicking and ubiquitous campaign advertising might consider hibernating for the next five months.