Nevada congressional candidates turn to general election contests
By: Stephan Burklin
CARSON CITY, Nevada: Tuesday’s primaries in Nevada were like warm-up sprints for heavy-weight contenders in the state’s congressional races, as the real contests will take place in November.
In the 3rd District, Nevada State Assembly Speaker John Oceguera triumphed in a crowded primary field without much difficulty. Incumbent Joe Heck had even less trouble sidelining Ron Paul activist Chris Dyer in the Republican primary. The 3rd District general election contest will be fought in Nevada’s only true swing district.
Current Nevada state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford faced no opposition in the Democratic primary for the 4th Congressional District seat. Businessman Danny Tarkanian narrowly edged out Barbara Cegavske and Dan Schwartz for the Republican nomination.
Nevada’s House and Senate races are among the few in the nation that might decide who holds power in Washington during the next legislative session.
In the 4th District, Republicans are hoping for high turnout among rural voters, most of whom tend to lean Republican. Democrats lambast the strategy as wishful thinking. In May, there were 113,000 Democratic voters registered in the district, compared with about 93,000 Republicans.
According to the Associated Press, Vicenta Montoya, founder of the Si Se Puede Latino Democratic Caucus, said: "You would have to have 100 percent turnout in the rurals. Danny, get a clue."
The Associated Press also reported that the state turnout numbers on Tuesday suggest that Republicans in the state’s rural counties were more eager to turn in their ballots than voters in urban Reno and Las Vegas, with Eureka County turnout at 56 percent and Washoe and Clark County turnouts at 20 and 16 percent, respectively. That might spell trouble for Democrats in November.
But political observers suggest that the Obama campaign’s emphasis on Nevada this fall will lead to a muscular get-out-the-vote machine that could have positive spillover effects for down-ticket Democrats.