Special election today for House seat

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Polls open at 7 a.m. today to determine who will replace Dean Heller in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Some 67,000 Nevadans have already cast their ballots in the 2nd Congressional District race.

Democrat Kate Marshall is expected to have a tough time in the race against Mark Amodei. Not only do Republicans have a voter registration advantage of more than 30,000 in the district; in early voting alone, they turned out nearly 15,000 more voters than the Democrats - 40,173 to 25,619.

In Carson City, 6,321 residents voted early - about one-quarter of total registration. Again, the GOP won the turnout battle, 3,862 to 2,480. Amodei, who was raised and lives in Carson City, is expected to do well in the capital.

There are two other candidates in the race. Tim Fasano is the Independent American Party nominee. Helmuth Lehmann is running as an independent candidate.

Heller was serving in the U.S. House when he was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to finish the Senate term of John Ensign, who resigned.

The winner of the Amodei-Marshall race will serve the remainder of Heller's current House term, which runs through 2012. He or she will have to run for the office again next year to keep the job.

By then, it may well be in a very different district, since the task of drawing new congressional district maps has been placed in the hands of Carson District Judge Todd Russell, who has named a commission to assist with that job.

For today's election, however, the district is the same one Heller ran in a year ago. It includes all of 16 Nevada counties and a small piece of Clark.

Amodei, a former state senator, has said repeatedly he doesn't believe in raising taxes to fix the nation's debt because it would further delay any economic recovery. He has signed a no-tax pledge to emphasize that point, saying the answer is to make government smaller, not raise the debt ceiling.

Marshall, currently in her second term as state treasurer, has said she would keep the Bush tax cuts for most Americans but eliminate those breaks on the rich. She also said she would eliminate tax loopholes for wealthy corporations, granting them breaks only for creating jobs.

Altogether, Secretary of State Ross Miller has 396,398 voters in the eligible to participate in today's special election.


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