Polls open for midterm elections today | NevadaAppeal.com

Polls open for midterm elections today

A long line waits to vote on Friday.

In Carson City, there are two places to vote — the Carson City Community Center and the Clerk/Recorder's office on the ground floor of the Carson City Courthouse.

The election also will decide more than 50 state legislative races, six ballot questions, whether Democrats keep two Las Vegas-area congressional seats and whether Republicans continue to hold such statewide offices as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, controller and attorney general.

Nevada polling places can be found at the secretary of state's office website , and voters in Clark, Washoe and Douglas counties and Carson City can also go to any voting center location.

Election officials say voters should beware of misinformation. Ballots cannot be cast by text message, telephone or online.

Polls close after the last person in line at 7 p.m. has a chance to vote.

•••

Recommended Stories For You

A Republican grandson of a former governor and a Democratic county commissioner with oversight over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip will learn Tuesday whether their multimillion-dollar bets have been enough to persuade voters to hand them the keys to the Nevada governor's mansion for the next four years.

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Adam Laxalt and his Democratic opponent, Steve Sisolak, are in a high-stakes race that has led them to spend more than $22 million combined in 2018 alone.

The battleground state hasn't elected a Democratic governor in two decades, but both parties like their chances in the close race that has seen President Donald Trump portrayed as friend and foe.

Sisolak, a commissioner for southern Nevada's Clark County, has made education and anti-Trump messages cornerstones of his campaign. The former member of the Nevada Board of Regents, which oversees the state's public higher education system, drew the support of former President Barack Obama and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"I'm a special education advocate, a single mom. I take education serious," Adrina Perry, mother to an eighth-grader, told Sisolak during a Halloween trick-or-treat event at a community center.

"I do, too," Sisolak replied as music blared, dozens of superheroes, heroines and pumpkins waited for candy, and Perry explained she believed her son was not being treated fairly at school.

Holder interjected, saying that of the gubernatorial hopefuls, the one who "has an education background is Steve Sisolak."

Laxalt and Sisolak never debated each other. Moderate, popular and term-limited Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval did not endorse Laxalt.

Laxalt is the grandson of former Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and the son of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico. He received the financial backing of GOP megadonor and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and endorsements from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The state's chief prosecutor since 2015, Laxalt cited sanctuary cities and burdensome regulations as ill-considered California policies that Nevada should avoid.

At the Nevada Day parade in Carson City on Oct. 27, he walked the parade route shaking hands with attendees and introducing himself. He later spoke at a rally with Pence at the local airport.

On Monday, Laxalt told KKOH Radio listeners in Reno that he has taken to the phone to make personal pleas to voters to make sure they get to the polls Tuesday to offset the advantage Democrats showed during early-voter turnout.

"If we have a Democratic governor and two Democrat houses … all of the progressive left-wing policies that you see in California will come to Nevada," he said. "Without a Republican governor, the backstop to veto that agenda, all those things will be here. Not five years from now, not 10 years from now — they are going to be here in just a few months."

•••

A neck-and-neck race in Nevada could be the Democrats' best chance of taking the majority in the U.S. Senate, but for their slight path to victory to run through this battleground state, Republican Dean Heller would have to lose his first election in three decades.

Heller is the only GOP senator seeking another term in a state Hillary Clinton won. He was once a critic of President Donald Trump but is now banking on the president's political power to carry him across the finish line.

Three years ago, the Republican senator returned a campaign donation from Trump, and two years ago Heller told reporters he "vehemently opposed" the billionaire.

Fast-forward to 2018, when Heller appeared at his third Nevada campaign rally with the president and told him, "Everything you touch turns to gold."

His opponent, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, hasn't been shy about describing the senator's comments as she speaks to Democrats, calling Heller a "rubber stamp" for the president.

In turn, Heller contends Rosen is seeking the job not with decades of delivering results for the state, as he has, but with heavy support from outside liberal groups and Hollywood celebrities.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and Democrats have to defend 10 of their seats and flip two more to take power.

Heller's race is seen as one of Democrats' best chances to swing a race, but the party is also looking on Tuesday to keep two open U.S. House seats near Las Vegas in their column and flip races for Nevada governor and a number of other statewide offices.

Across the board, Democrats are hoping a "blue wave" fueled by opposition to Trump will push them ahead.

The close race at the top of the ticket has drawn nearly $100 million in campaign spending — with about $33 million being spent by the Rosen and Heller campaigns and an additional $66 million from outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The spending has included a barrage of TV ads, including those from Rosen and her supporters that have seized on Heller's sliding positions on GOP efforts last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Heller drew backlash from the president and his supporters when he initially refused to vote for Republican plans in Congress to repeal the law passed under President Barack Obama, which has helped 400,000 Nevadans s gain health insurance coverage.

Trump later threatened Heller's re-election chances, and the senator went on to support other attempts to repeal the law.

At a Las Vegas rally on Friday with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, Rosen called Heller's health care votes the "biggest broken promise in modern Nevada history."

"I'll tell you where he stands, or where he flip-flops. I'm not sure he knows where he stands," she said.

Heller has highlighted Rosen's light track record in the House and her decision to run for his seat after only six months on the job. He's also emphasized the partisan battle over U.S Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh, citing his vote for the new justice and Rosen's opposition. He's also pointed out that the bulk of the money Rosen raised has come from people living in New York and California.

"California knows, Hollywood knows, if Jacky Rosen is elected to the U.S. Senate, California will have a third senator," Heller said Monday in an interview on KKOH Radio in Reno.

The senator, who says he's confident Republicans will keep control of the U.S. Senate, has kept his campaign relatively under-the-radar and made few public appearances outside rallies with the president, Vice President Mike Pence and Trump's children Don Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.

He's been pointing to the improving economy under GOP control as the best reason to vote for him.

"We have a growth economy now we haven't seen in decades," he said. "We're running on that message as strongly as we can."

•••

More than a third of Nevada's active registered voters have already cast ballots in the General Election — and that's without the final day of early voting added to the total.

Statewide, 554,898 had cast ballots in person, as absentees or in mailing precincts out of 1,560,928 active voters. That's a record 35.5 percent turnout.

And Friday, the last day of early voting, was reportedly heavy all across the state. In Carson City, 12,101 had voted as of about noon Friday. Elections Deputy Aubrey Rowlatt said with more than 20 people in line at any one time all morning, she expected that total to surpass 13,000 in person by day's end plus more than 2,000 absentee ballots.

"It's been really busy," she said. "We've had close to 1,000 people nearly every day."

Rowlatt said at that rate, the capital is on track to double the early voting turnout in 2014, the last midterm elections.

The biggest races on the ballot are for U.S. Senator where Republican Dean Heller is facing a stiff challenge from Rep. Jacky Rosen, and the race to succeed Brian Sandoval as governor between Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak. Both are regarded as too close to call.

There are also six ballot questions. Two of them deal with electric power — energy choice and expanding renewables — one to automatically register voters at DMV, one expanding victim rights and questions exempting medical equipment and feminine hygiene products from sales taxes.

All other constitutional offices are on the ballot as are all Assembly seats and, because of resignations and retirements, more than half of the state Senate.

Final numbers weren't available at press time since it was expected to take the Secretary of State's Office until nearly midnight to post statewide early voting totals.

As expected, Democrats held the lead in turnout as of the close of voting Thursday with nearly 42 percent of the total turnout compared to 37 percent for Republicans — about a 20,000-vote margin. Then there's the "Other" category. While there are more than 50,000 Independent American Party members in that group, the vast majority are non-partisan voters who don't list a party affiliation. Just under 100,000 of them had voted — 20 percent of the total — and longtime observers say those non-partisan voters more often lean to the left than the right.

In Carson City, those numbers were reversed with 47.7 percent of ballots being cast by Republicans and 33.5 percent by Democrats. But that's pretty much in line with party registration in the capital where the GOP has a substantial edge. There are a bit more than 31,000 voters in Carson.

The Democratic margin was most pronounced in Clark County, which has a heavy D-registration edge. Through Thursday, 150,748 Democrats had voted in person compared to 113,961 Republicans.

In Washoe County, Nevada's other major urban center, the margin was narrower but still favored Democrats at 37,994 to 35,200.

The question of who wins will be answered Tuesday — General Election day. Polls statewide open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

In Carson City, there are two places to vote — the Carson City Community Center and the Clerk/Recorder's office on the ground floor of the Carson City Courthouse.