• We’re out of the basement! Final turnout for the election was 19.25 percent, when you add up everybody who early voted, absentee voted, mail voted or came to the polls and cast a ballot on election day itself. All told, 222,135 of the state’s 1.1 million active registered voters turned out to vote. For the record, that’s better than the 18.87 percent recorded in 2012, so Tuesday’s primary was not the worst-attended primary in years.
Well, don’t get too excited. In previous off-year primary elections, turnout has been much higher, at least in percentage terms. It was 27.72 percent in 2002, 30.06 percent in 2006 and 30.12 percent in 2010. So, this was still the Election That Everybody Forgot.
• None of These Candidates won! Of course, I don’t think it’s because I wrote a column in late May suggesting voters send a message to Democratic Party leaders that failing to field a candidate was not cool. But I did have one person stop me to tell me she was going to skip voting in that race until she read my column, and then decided to vote for None, for whatever that’s worth.
But this has to be embarrassing for everybody who ran in that race, including the top human vote-getter, Robert “Bob” Goodman. In addition to his nickname, the phrases “winner,” “nominee” and “standard-bearer” will have to appear in quotes from now until Election Day in November. (One bright spot? Goodman did beat None of These Candidates here in Clark County, but just barely: Human candidate, 29 percent, Abstract, 27.5 percent.)
But seriously, what does the Democratic Party do now? Clearly, Goodman is not the real top-of-the-ticket candidate (that’s Lucy Flores, the nominee for lieutenant governor, who can say with pride that she beat None of These Candidates in her race). How does the party showcase their candidates? How does the media handle things? Will there be debates, or do we all just agree — as the Democratic Party did before filing closed — that Gov. Brian Sandoval is re-elected and we should all move on with our lives?
While we’re sorting that out, let’s hope the Democrats listen to the message voters sent Tuesday, which is that they’d rather have nobody than a choice among also-rans.
• Hollow congratulations. I, for one, was amused to see the notes of congratulations from some of the insurgent conservative challengers to Senate Republican-endorsed candidates in those key-for-control races in Las Vegas. For example, Vick Gill said this of primary winner Becky Harris in Senate District 9: “Although I have differences with Becky Harris on the issues, I would like to see Republicans unite to elect a Republican-led state Senate for Nevada.”
Really? Well, it’s too bad that Gill’s desire for unity came only after primary voters handed Harris the victory, because she sure could have used the primary time spent campaigning and raising money to fight Gill to get ready for her general-election battle with incumbent Democratic state Sen. Justin Jones.
Quite frankly, it seems the only thing the conservative challengers really did — other than provide a protest-vote outlet for the disaffected, who are clearly outnumbered by more pragmatic Republicans within their party — is help Democrats. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d be wondering at this point if the entire Nevada Republican Party isn’t a false-flag operation run by one Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Bam! Meme created.
• The Hutchison juggernaught. State Sen. Mark Hutchison not only defeated hotelier Sue Lowden, he did it in nearly every county in the state. Lowden only prevailed in three counties, and not by much: She won Elko County by 22 votes, Eureka County by one vote, and Nye County by 400 votes, her strongest showing over Hutchison anywhere in Nevada.
Forget Laughlin, Sue. Build a hotel in Pahrump. They love you in Nye!
• Top lawman protest vote? As expected, the establishment’s choice for sheriff — Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo — took the top spot in the Tuesday primary, winning 41,809 votes, or 36 percent of the total. His closest challenger, retired Metro Capt. Larry Burns, took second with 32,612 votes, or 28 percent.
The rest? Well, that’s where things get interesting. Because if you sweep up all the other votes into a category called “not Lombardo,” you come up with 40,878. That’s all the people who, if given a choice, picked somebody other than the anointed choice of incumbent Sheriff Doug Gillespie to lead the department.
And f you add that to Burns total, it’s a whopping 73,490 votes, enough to win. Unfortunately for Burns, it doesn’t quite work like that. There are undoubtedly some voters who favored other candidates, say former Constable Bobby Gronauer, who might pick Lombardo as their second choice in the general. But it’s safe to say, for example, that most of the votes that went to former Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody — who retired in a dispute over officer discipline and was endorsed by two high-profile department critics — will most probably be going to somebody other than the man mostly closely associated with Gillespie. (Moody pulled the third largest number of votes, at 20,733.)
The bottom line, it’s a real race between Lombardo and Burns, potentially the most serious challenge to an anointed sheriff in a very long time.
• Was this discrimination, too? Jacob Hafter, the attorney who accused both a state District Court judge and a federal judge of anti-Semitism when rulings didn’t go his way, was trounced in his bid for District Court in Department 22. Incumbent Susan Johnson took 64 percent of the vote against Hafter and one other challenger.
Wait, let me guess: The voters are anti-Semitic racists, too? Or maybe they just know a charlatan when they see one?
More to come later in the week, and on Sunday, I’ll take a deeper look at the loss by conservatives up and down the ballot.