LAS VEGAS - Democratic congressional candidate Tom Gallagher made it official Tuesday, securing his party's nomination in the closely watched battle for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District while fellow Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley cruised to victory in the 1st District primary.
Gallagher, a former casino executive, defeated a field of five other Democrats for the right to challenge freshman Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev. Democrats are targeting Porter's seat as part of a national strategy to take back control of Congress next year.
"I'm very grateful for all the support we've received here in this district, both from the voters and the hundreds of volunteers that have stepped forward to help us," Gallagher said. "My campaign is all about doing the right kind of job in representing the needs, the interests and the hopes of this district."
Gallagher had 69 percent of the vote with 190 of 525 precincts reporting. No Republicans mounted a primary challenge against Porter, 49.
In other races, Berkley easily defeated 48-year-old playwright and college instructor Brian Kral and 55-year-old bookkeeper Ann Reynolds.
Berkley received 84 percent of the vote with 206 of 458 precincts reporting. Kral and Reynolds received 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
In the general election Berkley will likely face Republican Russ Mickelson, a former Air Force pilot and retired Defense Department employee who received 63 percent of the vote with 206 of 458 precincts reporting. Lewis Byer received 26 percent, while Francisco Tamez had 11 percent
"There are some issues that are vital to the people of Nevada," Mickelson said. "We will probably differ on the things that need to be done to get there."
Rep. Jim Gibbons, 59, had no primary opponent in the sprawling 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses most of the state except for parts of the Las Vegas area.
In an uphill race to challenge the four-term Republican congressman, it was too close to call. Democrat Angie Cochran, 61-year-old business owner, was leading David Jerome Bennett, a 47-year-old computer systems programmer, 51 percent to 49 percent with 443 of 782 precincts reporting.