2012 Election Thoughts – Nevada Congressional Edition

Nevada had four congressional races. Two were competitive and two were pretty easy skates for candidates where their party affiliation dominates their district.

District 1) CD1 is a district dominated be democratic voters and former state legislator & former congresswoman (held CD3 for one term 2008-10) Dina Titus (D) cruised to an easy victory in a seat that should be a game for democrats in the coming years.

Titus won in a rout more than doubling up on opponent Chris Edwards 113,377 to 56,357. This race was never really in question and there was little news coming from this race. It’s good to have an excellent representative like Dina Titus going back to DC and  repping for her district and Nevada!

District 2) This district in most years should lean republican. It has a good portion of GOP voting rural Nevada and covers the northern urban areas of Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Douglas County.

This was the other gimme race, where incumbent Mark Amodei had little trouble winning 161,915 – 101,594 over an absolute unknown (D) in Sam Koepnick. The only interesting aspect to these races was that Koepnick never accepted any democratic assistance at all. In fact some northern democrats wondered if he was a “planted” candidate who got past a more established democrat in the primary. Once the race started Koepnick was little seen and basically garnered what votes he did get on his supposed Democratic Party affiliation on the ballot.

The thing to look at here is the final vote numbers: Even though Koepnick was virtually invisible, spent no money, took few if any donations and had almost no advertising, he still managed to garner over 100k votes. I think northern Nevada democrats could look at this result and think that if there was a legitimate viable name recognized candidate, that this district could be won by a democrat.

The key here is the primary. Do not let a repeat of the 2012 primary happen where an unknown entity knocks out a real viable candidate.

District 3) CD3 lies totally within the boundary of Clark County encompassing the southern half of the county, down to Laughlin. This is the quintessential swing district as the voter rolls are almost evenly split. This is also a suburban Las Vegas area district, with middle to upper class neighborhoods.

The race matched incumbent Joe Heck (R) (who beat Dina Titus in 2008) vs. long time state legislator John Oceguera. This race was another that was (and always should be) tightly contested. Heck came out the winner 136,905 to 116, 385, with two IAP candidates siphoning off 18,367 votes, but not enough to say they factored in the outcome of this race.

This race was one of the two (CD4 being the other) that really got the advertising and mailers going. As this is a swing district targeted by both parties, there was local money and a lot of out of state money in this race, with each camp hammering the other. In the end incumbency might have been a bit much to overcome in a centrist district, where there were a good number of Romney signs in certain neighborhoods.

This district should always be a good fight for whoever wants to take the plunge.

District 4) This is the new district in Nevada, added after redistricting in 2011. This is a lean democratic seat voter registration wise, but it is also the most interesting seat because it encompasses the northern half of Clark County (Las Vegas metro area) and the other half of rural Nevada that CD2 doesn’t cover.

This race featured state senator Steven Horsford (D) vs. Danny Tarkanian (R). Horsford was behind in polling, but when the voters actually cast ballots, Horsford wound up with a surprising margin of victory (120,096 to 101,136, with two minor party candidates combining for 18,684 votes).

This is the race where pollsters erred the most. I think the Obama coat tails helped dramatically in this race, when African Americans showed up to vote in greater numbers than probably expected and that turn out helped Horsford win.

The rural counties all went republican by good percentages (68.9% to 30.7%) but the rural numbers were small enough that a good result in Clark County carried the day. Consider that Tarkanian won the rurals by 9,901 votes and Horsford won the urban area by 28,861 votes. Horsford will be making his first trip to DC as congressman!!

Rural Nevada is and probably always will be the domain of republican votes, but fortunately Clark County is trending democratic with Washoe County becoming a true battle ground.

Comments are closed.