Nevada elections too close to call

Only four days remain until the Tuesday’s general election, and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now virtually neck-and-neck nationally. The Nevada U.S. Senate race also is expected to be a cliffhanger.

The Senate contest is to fill the seat held for the past 30 years by Democrat Harry Reid, who will turn 78 next month. He announced last March that he would not run for a sixth term after he was severely injured and blinded in an eye when he fell from an exercise machine.

The latest and final Nevada political party registration figures, issued Oct. 18 by the Nevada Secretary of State, indicate that there are 666,222 Democrats, 547,429 Republicans and 355,570 non-partisan voters. The state’s voter total is 1,679,254.

In Churchill County, there are 2,946 Democrats, 8,420 Republicans, 2,334 non-partisan and 130 Libertarians. Esmeralda County has 593 registered voters, the smallest number in the state. The largest number is in Clark County, which has 1,180,250 voters.

In Nevada in the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama received 531.373 votes to Mitt Romney’s 463,567. In Churchill County that year, Romney received 7,061 votes to Obama’s 2,961. In 2008 in Nevada, Obama received 533,736 votes to John McCain’s 412,827. In Churchill County that year, McCain received 6,832 votes to Obama’s 3,494.

In Nevada’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, like Trump and Clinton, are neck and neck in the polls.

Masto, 52, is a former Nevada two-term attorney general and the recipient of a BA in business administration from UNR and a law degree from Gonzaga University.

Heck, 54, is a former Nevada state senator and current three-term congressman representing Southern Nevada’s Third Congressional District. He also is an Army Reserve brigadier general, the recipient of a BA in health sciences from Pennsylvania State University, an osteopath and graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Heck also has been endorsed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the state’s largest newspaper, which is owned by Republican Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate whose net worth of $31.3 billion ranks him by Forbes Magazine as the world’s 21st richest person.

Heck, however, ran into trouble last month with some of his fellow Republicans when he announced he was recanting his previous endorsement of Trump following the release of the “sex tape” containing Trump’s vulgar comments about women. With 2012 presidential candidate Romney at his side, Heck told a GOP gathering that Trump should abandon the race, and these comments drew boos and jeers from many in the audience. Other Nevada Republican notables declining to support Trump have included Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller, Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison and Southern Nevada Congressman Cresent Hardy.

Mark Amodei, the two-term Republican congressman representing the Second District, which includes Churchill County and most of Northern Nevada, is supporting Trump. Amodei’s Democratic opponent, Reno radio talk show host Chip Evans is expected to lose as have all Democrats who have run for the Second District seat since it was established in 1982.

Before the Second District came into being, Nevada had only one congressman because of the state’s small population. Today, the state has grown in population and has four congressmen, which gives Nevada a total of six electoral votes. There are seven states today with just one congressman, and they are Alaska, Montana, the two Dakotas, Wyoming, Vermont and Delaware. California, with 53 congressmen, has the largest membership in the House of Representatives.

The fact that the Trump-Clinton and Heck-Masto races are too close to call reflects Nevada’s heritage of other close races over the years. Five of these races come to mind, and here they are:

1998 — Harry Reid beat Republican John Ensign in the U.S. Senate race by 401 votes out of 427,751 votes cast.

1974 — Reid lost to Republican Paul Laxalt in the U.S. Senate race by 624 votes out of 169,473 votes cast.

1964 — Democrat Howard Cannon beat Laxalt in the Senate contest by 48 votes out of 134,624 votes cast.

1914 — In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat R.G. Newlands beat Republican Samuel Platt by 40 votes out of 21,567 votes cast.

1898 — In the election for governor, Silver Party candidate Reinhold Sadler beat Republican William McMillan by 22 votes. There were two other men from two other parties also in this race, and the total number of voters was 10,007.

Final results from Tuesday’s election should be exciting.

David C. Henley is Publisher Emeritus of the LVN.


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