Early results show Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com
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Early results show Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in Nevada

By The Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a caucus night event, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
AP | AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Early results showed Joe Biden with a lead Tuesday over President Donald Trump in Nevada, a state no Republican presidential candidate has carried since 2004 but that has remained a battleground.

Trump fell just shy of winning Nevada and its six electoral college votes four years ago. He campaigned hard this year hoping to prevail on his second try.

Democrats and Joe Biden’s campaign said that while they have been successful in recent elections in Nevada, they weren’t taking anything for granted this year.

Republicans and Democrats said they have seen high enthusiasm in recent weeks, which was on display in turnout results. The 1 million plus-ballots cast by mail or through in-person early voting before polls opened Tuesday morning had already surpassed total turnout in Nevada in 2016.

By Tuesday evening, shortly before polls closed, turnout was already 8% higher than all of 2016.

In addition to the presidential race, voters decided four U.S. House races, five statewide ballot questions, two statewide Supreme Court seats and one state Court of Appeals seat. They also picked winners for four positions on the Board of Regents, two State Board of Education spots and about four dozen state Senate and Assembly contests.

Two incumbent U.S. House members, Republican Mark Amodei in northern Nevada and Democrat Dina Titus in Las Vegas, won reelection Tuesday.

The other House races, where Democrats Susie Lee and Steven Horsford were trying to win reelection, were too early to call, with a large number of ballots yet to be counted.

In a late Tuesday afternoon hearing, Clark County District Court Judge Joe Hardy Jr. ordered 30 of 125 Las Vegas-area voting sites to remain open for an extra hour to 8 p.m. after the Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans cited reports that some locations did not open on time Tuesday morning.

Attorney Brian Hardy, representing Republicans and the campaign, cited a report that the first ballot cast at one junior high school was at 10:50 a.m. But attorneys for the state and Clark County said most delays were several minutes.

Republicans filed to extend voting times at 22 sites, and attorneys for Democrats requested eight additional sites.

Election Day voters encountered lines but only a few problems as polls opened across Nevada. At most of about a dozen locations surveyed by the AP around midday Tuesday, voters wore masks and socially distanced as they waited to cast their ballots. Some said it took an hour or more to vote.

Joe Weaver, the Nevada director of Trump’s reelection effort, said Republicans have seen lots of enthusiasm and have been “re-registering a lot of Democrats that have been walking away from the party.”

The GOP and Trump’s campaign have been working as a joint operation in the state and had more than 60 staffers on the ground, roughly double their effort four years ago.

But Democrats have one of the strongest state parties in the country in Nevada, built up by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“We feel really good about our position here in the state,” said Alana Mounce, the Nevada state director for the Biden campaign. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the Biden-Harris ticket and Democrats up and down the ticket.”

They had more than 100 on staff in Nevada between the party and the campaign and activated get-out-the-vote networks they built up over the years that reach into Nevada’s diverse communities, including Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.

One of the biggest on-the-ground-advantages Democrats count is the heavily Latino casino workers’ Culinary Union. While the Democratic Party and Biden campaign didn’t resume in-person canvassing until October because of the coronavirus, instead relying on virtual organizing, the union started hitting doors in August and had more than 500 members working to get out the vote headed into Election Day.

Shannon Delugo-Owen, a 49-year-old Republican who cast her vote early in-person for Trump at a south Las Vegas polling place, said she doesn’t think the president should be faulted for the coronavirus and its impacts.

“I do believe he’s there fighting for our country. Our economy has been fantastic,” said Delugo-Owen, who said she is retired from law enforcement. “He’s certainly is fighting for law enforcement. He’s fighting to keep issues like the riots out of the cities.”

Reno resident Maria Ochoa, a-38-year-old bank worker who waited in a 90-minute line outside the Sparks Library as the sun went down on Friday, said she wanted to vote early for Biden and felt Trump was out of step with her Hispanic community.

“I feel like he has made it OK for people to come out and be openly racist and openly express those feelings,” she said. “Biden and Harris seem to be more about uniting communities.”

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Associated Press writers Tim Dahlberg and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, contributed to this report.

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Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.