On November 8th, if you want to know just how bad a night Democrats are having, you almost assuredly will be able to tell simply by knowing what is going on in Nevada.
Despite once being an important part of the Obama Coalition, the Silver State is slowly trending away from the Democrats. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden both had trouble holding onto Nevada, with each winning it by only about two and a half points. As we’ll touch on later in this recap, Democrats are experiencing issues retaining their advantage with Hispanic voters, making Nevada an especially enticing target for the GOP.
On top of that, Nevada this year is rife with prime Republican opportunities, as Democrats have to defend the Governorship, a Senate seat and three competitive House districts.
In the GOP’s Senate primary former Attorney General Adam Laxalt emerged victorious over veteran Sam Brown by a healthy 56.1% to 34.1% margin. In the more competitive Gubernatorial contest, Clark County sheriff Joe Lombardo won the nomination with just 36.0%. Attorney and January 6th participant Joey Gilbert secured second with 25.8%, while former Sen. Dean Heller had to settle for 12.6%.
As for the Congressional races, Democratic 1st district incumbent Dina Titus easily prevailed over progressive challenger Amy Vilela 82.3% to 17.6%. Meanwhile, Army vet Mark Robertson’s 30.3% was enough to earn him the Republican nomination in a crowded field.
The other two Democrats expecting tough contests in November are Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford in the 3rd and 4th districts respectively. In the 3rd, the NRCC easily got their preferred candidate April Becker, who prevailed with 65.0%. With the 4th, though, vet Sam Peters survived a much closer call with assemblywoman Annie Black 47.9% to 41.1%.
Lastly, in the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Republican Mark Amodei held off a primary challenge from Danny Tarkanian (scion of legendary UNLV college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian) 54.3% to 33.0%.
One other statewide contest worth noting is the race for Secretary of State. Former Assemblyman Jim Marchant took the Republican nomination with 38.0% in a crowded field. Even among those who falsely believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Marchant stands out.
“Your vote hasn’t counted for decades,” he claimed at a debate this past February. “You haven’t elected anybody. The people that are in office have been selected. You haven’t had a choice.”
Marchant will face Democratic nominee Francisco Aguilar in November for the right to be Nevada’s chief election officer.
Split Decision for Trump in South Carolina
Down in South Carolina, former President Donald Trump went after a pair of GOP for what he deemed to be their insufficient loyalty. Rep. Nancy Mace criticized Trump after the January 6th insurrection while Rep. Tom Rice voted to impeach Trump for his role in the disaster. Turns out votes reverberate louder than words.
In the coastal 1st district, Mace held on over Trump-endorsed challenger Katie Arrington 53.1% to 45.2%. Over in the 7th district Rice wasn’t as lucky, though, with Trump-backed candidate Russell Fry securing 51.1% against Rice’s 24.6% (this contest had several more candidates on the ballot).
Judging by the results, you’d think Rice was the freshman and Mace the five-term vet but it’s actually the other way around. Mace proved to be a pro fundraiser as well, bringing in over $4 million for her primary. Perhaps that’s why she survived.
The lesson others may take, however, is that it’s possible to get back into Trump supporters’ good graces with enough contrition. After all, while Rice stood by his vote, Mace traveled to Trump Tower just to film a video praising the ex-President.
Grave Warning for Democrats in Texas 34th Special Election and a Rematch in Maine
On the one hand, this is quite an insignificant contest. It’s only to fill out the seat for the rest of the year and the district won’t even exist in November. At the same time, however, this result is a sign of just how much peril Democrats face with their former stronghold among Hispanic voters in the Rio Grande Valley.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 2012, Barack Obama won this heavily Hispanic district by 23 points over Mitt Romney while Hillary Clinton took it by 22 points in 2016. In 2020, however, Joe Biden edged past Donald Trump by just four points.
With most of the precincts in, Republican Mayra Flores is sitting at 50.9%, just above the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff. Flores’ win is a victory for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose Super PAC threw its support behind Flores in the hopes of just this sort of result.
From the Mexican border up to northern Maine, where we’ll get a 2018 rematch in the rural 2nd Congressional District. This seat voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, securing him a spare electoral vote, and will be one of the Democrats’ toughest districts to defend.
Jared Goldstein will once again face-off with Bruce Poliquin, who won his primary with 60.8% of the vote. Elizabeth Caruso, who ran to Poliquin’s right, performed better than expected but was still unable to pull off the upset.
A Look Ahead
Next week, the main event is set to be the runoff in the Alabama Republican Senate primary. Katie Britt has the support of Mitch McConnell and (sort of) Donald Trump while Mo Brooks is the spurned insurgent seeking a come-from-behind victory. We’ll also be tracking the congressional primaries in the commonwealth of Virginia. Make sure to visit Decision Desk HQ on Tuesday as well as each and every other Election Night.