Early voting heavy in Carson as Republicans hit the polls

Just three days into early voting, elections officials in Carson City and Washoe County say they are getting a strong turnout.

"We're having our best turnout ever," said Carson Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover.

In just the first two days of early voting, he said, 1,133 Carson residents cast ballots at the courthouse. That compares to 754 in the 2006 elections and 700 in 2008.

He pointed out the Republican primaries for the top races - U.S. Senate and governor - are hotly contested and drawing numerous voters who identify with the Tea Party.

Glover also said a contested sheriff's primary "always brings people out" in Carson City.

Kenny Furlong, seeking an unprecedented third four-year term, is being challenged by two of his deputies, Bob Guimont and Bob White.

Glover said he won't know the partisan makeup of the early voters until the ballots are counted, but that he more Republicans than Democrats.

"On the Democratic side, there isn't really anything on the ballot," he said.

Washoe Registrar Dan Burk said early turnout there has also been considerably higher than in past elections. In addition to U.S. Senate and governor, he said there are key primaries in state Senate contests in Washoe.

"We've got contests on the Republican side that are very contentious and very interesting," he said.

As a result, he said some 60 percent of those voting so far are Republicans.

Burk said early voting has grown greatly in popularity because it's hard for many workers who can't get away to vote on Election Day. Seniors like the shorter lines and flexibility of choosing a day to go vote.

Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax said that county traditionally sees only a 26 percent early voting turnout. As of Monday, Lomax said, 6,928 Democrats and 6,898 Republicans had voted early in Clark.

"When you consider the fact there are 90,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans down here, that shows you Republicans are turning out at a higher percentage," Lomax said.

He said that isn't a surprise since many voters consider the Democratic U.S. Senate and governor's primaries "essentially decided" while the Republican primaries are wide open.

Twelve candidates are vying for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, including Sharron Angle, John Chachas, Chad Christensen, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian. In the governor's race, incumbent Jim Gibbons is facing strong opposition from Brian Sandoval and Mike Montandon.

Sen. Harry Reid is running for his fifth term in office against three unknowns. His son, Rory Reid, has one opponent in the governor's primary, Las Vegas professor Frederick Conquest.

Early voting wraps up June 4 across the state. The primary election is scheduled for June 8.

Through the end of Monday, 25,131 Nevadans had voted early.


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