2012 elections review: Smooth sailing for incumbents in Nevada primaries

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June 13, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continued yesterday with elections in Arizona, Arkansas, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Here is a recap of what happened in Nevada.

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%)


See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Nevada, 2012 and United States Senate elections in Nevada, 2012

U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Nevada, 2012

As expected current U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley won the Democratic primary and will face incumbent Dean Heller (R) in the general election. Independent American Party candidate David Lory VanderBeek will also be on the ballot.

Heller won with 86 percent over four other Republican contenders. Berkley earned 79 percent of the vote, also in a race with four other candidates. The November contest for the seat is one of a handful across the nation that could determine which party takes control in the Senate next year.[1]

Heller was appointed to the Senate last year after disgraced Republican John Ensign resigned. Heller served as Nevada's secretary of state before being elected to the U.S. House to represent Northern Nevada in 2006. Berkley was first elected to represent Las Vegas in 1998.

U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Nevada, 2012

Nevada has 4 U.S. House seats up for election this year. Of the eight possible primaries, five were contested. Nationally, 60.56% of primaries so far have been contested, making Nevada's 62.50% of contested primaries above the national average.

Nevada gained an additional U.S. House seat this year. Because current 1st District incumbent Shelley Berkley (D) is running for the Senate, there will be two open seats in November. Both incumbent Republicans -- Mark Amodei and Joe Heck -- advanced to the general election in the 2nd and 3rd districts, respectively.

In the 1st District, former U.S. Representative Dina Titus was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Chris Edwards defeated four other opponents in the Republican primary. Titus and Edwards will be on the general election ballot along with Libertarian William Pojunis and Independent American Party candidate Stan Vaughan.

Samuel Koepnick won a three-way race for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Amodei in the 2nd District general election. Michael L. Haines (I) and Independent American Party candidate Russell Best will also be on the ballot.

Current Nevada State Assembly speaker John Oceguera defeated five opponents in the Democratic Primary for the 3rd District. He will face incumbent Heck, Jim Murphy and Independent American Party candidate Tom Jones in the general election.

Finally, in the open 4th District, four opponents will appear on the general election ballot. Nevada State Senate majority leader Steven Horsford ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Danny Tarkanian won a highly competitive Republican primary which had eight other candidates on the ballot. Joseph P. Silvestri (L) and Independent American Party candidate Floyd Fitzgibbons will also be on the ballot.

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 legislatures

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

In the senate, just one incumbent faced primary opposition -- Senator John Jay Lee (D) was defeated by Patricia Spearman in his primary.

A total of 11 House incumbents faced a primary opponent -- 9 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Incumbent Republican Kelly Kite was defeated by Jim Wheeler in House District 39. The remaining 10 incumbents defeated their primary challengers.

The Republican primary in House District 9 is currently too close to call. Unofficial results put C. Kelly Hurst ahead of Victoria DeLaGuerra-Seaman by just 9 votes.[2]

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