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5 predictions for Nevada’s primaries

Nevada’s primary election is Tuesday. So it’s time to dust off my pundit cap and offer predictions. Remember, there’s often a difference between what you want to happen and what you think is going to happen.

1. Democrat gubernatorial primary: Steve Sisolak. The fight between Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani has been the most interesting — and expensive — primary battle. Sisolak started the campaign bragging about how moderate he was. He’ll end this campaign having spent $6 million telling voters that he’s a radical leftist. Most notably, he’s flip-flopped his positions on policies such as abortion and guns. He now supports partial-birth abortion and strict gun control, including banning certain guns, although he won’t say which ones.

Giunchigliani has been a radical liberal for decades, but that hurts her with moderate Democrats. With Sisolak moving so far to the left and badly outspending her, she has only a narrow path to victory.

The real winner of this battle is Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt. The only mystery in his race is if any of his opponents will break double digits. He’ll head into the general election with more than $4 million in the bank. He has the opportunity to appeal to the moderate voters Sisolak has abandoned and Giunchigliani ignored.

2. Congressional District 3: Susie Lee faces Danny Tarkanian. Lee doesn’t have a serious challenger in the Democrat primary. Tarkanian faces two, state Sen. Scott Hammond and former TV reporter Michelle Mortensen. Tarkanian’s advantages are significant. He’s got high name ID from having run for the same seat in 2016 and has significantly outraised the other Republicans. His mail pieces tout that he’s “endorsed by President Trump.” Tarkanian will notch another primary win.

This is a make-or-break moment for Tarkanian, who’s lost four previous general elections. His biggest problem has been picking the wrong race in which to run. Once it became clear that Trump supported Sen. Dean Heller, CD3 was the best race for him. If he can win, he’ll have shown the power of perseverance. If he loses, in the right race and in a nonpresidential year, it’ll be time to hang it up and let other Republicans — a group that should include his wife, Amy Tarkanian — try to win these general elections.

3. Congressional District 4: Cresent Hardy faces Steven Horsford. If you’re feeling nostalgic for 2014, CD4 is the race for you. It’ll feature a rematch of the 2014 shocker when Hardy upset Horsford. Hardy’s Republican opponents haven’t raised much, so any suspense will have to come from the Democrat contest. It does feature two current elected officials, state Sen. Pat Spearman and Regent Allison Stephens. The best chance for an upset comes from Amy Vilela, who advocates for universal Medicare and may appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters. The real surprise, though, would be if Horsford got less than 50 percent of the vote.

4. District attorney: Steve Wolfson. Even with the indirect support of George Soros, Robert Langford won’t be able to stop Wolfson from winning re-election in the Democrat primary. No Republicans filed in this race.

5. Sheriff: Joe Lombardo. This nonpartisan race has five candidates, but if anyone gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he wins in the primary. Expect Lombardo to gain re-election despite Metro’s continued flaunting of Nevada’s Public Records Act.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 9 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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