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2012 elections preview: Nevada voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries

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June 11, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues today with elections in Nevada.

Here's what to watch for in Nevada, where polling places will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.[1]

Contested Primaries in Nevada -- June 12, 2012
U.S. House
(4 seats)
State Legislature
(54 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 2 (50%) 21 (38.9%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 3 (75%) 18 (33.3%)


U.S. Senate

Democrats are hoping to pry Nevada’s contested Senate seat away from freshman Republican Senator Dean Heller, who was appointed to the seat in 2011 when John Ensign resigned.

The contest is the marquee race of Tuesday's primary, in which Heller and current Democratic U.S. House representative Shelley Berkley are expected to prevail easily against a slate of unknowns.[2]

Most polls give Heller a lead over Berkley by margins ranging from 2 to 11 percentage points.[3]

On Tuesday night, Heller is expected to fend of primary challenges from Edward Hamilton, Sherry Brooks, Richard Charles, and Carlo Poliak without much difficulty.

Berkley faces token opposition from fellow Democrats Stephen Brown, Louis Macias, and Nancy Price. Barry Ellsworth, a renewable energy entrepreneur, was shaping up to be a strong challenger, but his first-ever campaign suffered and he quickly petered out.[4]

David Lory VanderBeek is running unopposed as the Independent American Party candidate. He will face the Democratic and Republican primary victors in the general elections in November.

U.S. House

The race to capture the newly created 4th District seat is proving to be Nevada’s most widely watched contest.

Nevada state Senate majority leader Steven Horsford is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. He will square off against one of nine Republican contenders vying for the Republican mantle.

State senator Barbara Cegavske is trying to edge out businessmen Dan Schwartz and Danny Tarkanian.

Kenneth Wegner, Diana Anderson, Mike Delarosa, Kiran Hill, Robert X. Leeds, and Sid Zeller are also competing for the Republican ticket against Horsford in November.

Nevada’s remaining congressional districts are considered less volatile. Democrat Rep. Dina Titus is running to represent the largely Democratic 1st Congressional District and is expected to win without much of a fight in November. Chris Edwards, Charmaine Guss, Brian Landsberger, Herb Peters, and Miguel Rodrigues are jockeying for the Republican nomination.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei also faces no serious competition in his 2nd Congressional District re-election campaign. Democrats Sam Dehne, Samuel Koepnick, and Xiomara Rodriguez will compete for their party’s nomination tomorrow.

In Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Democratic challenger and Nevada State Assembly Speaker John Oceguera have also enjoyed quiet primaries. Their November general election race, however, will be fought in Nevada’s only true swing House district and will be highly competitive.

Members of the U.S. House from Nevada -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 1 2
     Republican Party 2 2
Total 3 4

State legislature

Nevada State Senate elections, 2012 and Nevada State Assembly elections, 2012

There are 54 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 12 Senate seats and 42 Assembly seats.

There are 21 (38.9%) contested Democratic primaries and 18 (33.3%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 39 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 39 major party primaries represents 36.1% of possible primaries tomorrow. This figure is slightly higher the current national contested average of 22.8% for states that have had filing deadlines.


In the Senate, there is only one incumbent facing a primary challenger. Incumbent Democrat John Jay Lee is challenged by Patricia Spearman.


In the Assembly, there are a total of 11 incumbents facing a primary challenge - 9 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

Democratic Party District 3: Democratic incumbent Peggy Pierce is challenged by Matthew J. Tramp.
Democratic Party District 7: Incumbent Dina Neal (D) is running against Stephen Taylor.
Democratic Party District 8: Incumbent Democrat Jason Frierson will face John Moore.
Democratic Party District 10: Democratic incumbent Joseph Hogan is challenged by Jonathan Friedrich.
Democratic Party District 12: Incumbent James Ohrenschall (D) is running against Mickey Frazier.
Democratic Party District 15: Incumbent Democrat Elliot Anderson will face Lou Toomin.
Democratic Party District 28: Democratic incumbent Lucy Flores is challenged by Abraham Camejo and Luis Alberto Rendon.
Democratic Party District 34: Incumbent William C. Horne (D) is running against Steven A. Maczka.
Republican Party District 39: Incumbent Republican Kelly Kite will face Gary Roger Schmidt and Jim Wheeler.
Democratic Party District 40: Republican incumbent Pete Livermore is challenged by Phillip Davies.
Democratic Party District 42: Incumbent Irene Bustamante Adams (D) is running against Kevin L. Child.

Nevada State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 10 11
     Republican Party 9 10
     Vacancy 2 0
Total 21 21

Nevada State Assembly
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 26 27
     Republican Party 16 15
Total 42 42

See also

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