It's all over Tuesday

The one thing voters on both sides of the partisan divide can happily agree on is that it's over Tuesday.

More than half the electorate has already gone to the polls, voting early - including 60 percent of those registered in Carson City. But the constant calls late into the evening from both sides, the endless negative ads on TV and the daily onslaught of mailers has a large part of the electorate along with many candidates - fed up and ready to have it all over with.

While the experts think Obama will claim Nevada's six electoral votes, they have some doubt as to whether that will translate into victories in the races further down the ballot, including the Legislature.

Carson City isn't really a participant in any of the legislative drama. Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who represents the capital, isn't up for election this cycle and Assembly District 40 appears solidly behind the re-election of incumbent Republican Pete Livermore.

But a lot of eyes are on a small group of five state Senate races that could determine control of the Legislature's upper house. While four of those contests are in the south, what may be the most interesting battle is between Sheila Leslie and Greg Brower in Reno.

Leslie, a Democrat, resigned a relatively safe seat halfway through her term to challenge Brower, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Bill Raggio. While she said redistricting put her new home in the district, observers see it as a calculated move on her part to try expand the Democratic majority in the Senate.

"I think Brower wins it," said University of Nevada, Reno, political scientist Eric Herzik. "But I won't be shocked if she wins.

"Her fliers have been hilarious," Herzik said referring ads that portray Brower as asleep or absent during critical hearings. "She gets an A for creativity."

"Brower has a reputation for not working hard enough," Herzik said. "But Sheila has a reputation of just being tireless walking the district. If she wins that will be how she wins it."

He and Truckee Meadows Community College political scientist Fred Lokken said a strong Democratic turnout for Obama could help the party down ballot in some of the close state Senate races in the south.

Of those races, Democrats hold the registration advantage in three districts, but not by enough to guarantee victory. In all four cases, it will be the independent vote that decides the victor.

District's 5 and 6 were both vacated by Democratic incumbents: Shirley Breeden and Allison Copening respectively. Both chose not to run for re-election. District 9 was vacated by Republican Elizabeth Halseth who resigned halfway through her term.

In District 5, Democrat and former state Senator Joyce Woodhouse faces Republican Steve Kirk. In District 6, Democrat Benny Yerushalmi faces Republican Mark Hutchison. In District 9, Democrat Justin Jones faces Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin.

All three districts have Democratic majorities.

Finally, District 18 is the formerly rural seat vacated by Mike McGinness who was term limited. It now has a Southern Nevada majority and a slight GOP registration edge. Assemblyman Scott Hammond, a Republican, is running against Democrat Kelli Ross in that district.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.


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