With early voting over, and only Friday’s numbers to be updated, with probably close to ca 2/3 of the total vote: Democrat voting in Friday was a complete blow-out: Democrats increased their total lead of voters to almost 46,000, for a voter lead of 6%, which is at registration. This is a decrease statewide for the Democrats lead vis-à-vis 2012 by about 2000 voters.
This overall slight decrease in the Democrats early voter lead is due completely to the rural counties increasing the voter lead for Republicans from about 22,000 in 2012 to over 28,000 in 2016. However, in the urban counties of Clark and Washoe, the story is very different.
The Democrat voter edge in Clark County remains just over 13½% (over 72,000 votes), which is ½% at their active voter registration lead, though due to the massive increase in overall registration, still leaves the Democrats with ca 2000 more early voters in Clark County than four years ago. Since most of the vulnerable legislative seats, the entirety of the 3rd Congressional District, and most of the 4th Congressional District lying within Clark County, the non-statewide contests will be a complete disaster for the Republicans.
Washoe is, perhaps, even worse off. Unlike in 2012, when they had a slight plurality for Republicans after the end of early voting, they are behind by quadruple digits (though barely) in 2016.
U.S. Senate & Congress
The one hope for Republicans is to replicate 2012 statewide. That year, though Obama won the state, Republican Dean Heller won the U.S. Senate seat about 10,000 votes, the only example from 2012 of the Republican winning the Senate seat in a state won by Obama. With a relatively similar registration and statewide early vote, there is hope for a Heck win.
However, there are critical differences between 2012 and 2016. In the Republicans’ favor, is the fact that Joe Heck has one of the best ground games in Nevada, and the only real one for Republicans this cycle. He is also relatively well known and has been generally well liked. In the Democrats’ favor are various factors: Cortez Masto is not as loathed as Democratic nominee Shelley Berkeley was in 2012; most state Republican Central Committees are absolute Trump cultists who were narrowly stopped from openly declaring war against Joe Heck; anonymous pro-Trump/anti-Heck mailers have been flooding many mailboxes; unlike Dean Heller, Joe Heck isn’t from northern Nevada and won’t get any bump that northern Nevada candidates usually do; and, of course, the Trump Effect. Heck had been leading constantly in the polls for months before the end of October, and since then the polls have been all over the place; Real Clear Politics shows Heck ahead with an average lead of 1.4 (as of posting), while Nat Silver’s 538 indicates a narrow win for Cortez Masto.
Both the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts find the Republicans staring down the precipice of doom.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Republicans are now behind by over 8600 votes. This is a seat easily won by Republican Joe Heck in 2012. Republicans will have to get over ¾ of the bipartisan election day vote to break even, or gain ¾ of the non-partisan and 3rd Party vote; the early vote clearly indicates that the former option is close to impossible, while the later option is highly unlikely at best. Right now, Republicans should be taking the time to carefully pick a Republican who can appeal to conservatives, but who is also capable of winning—perhaps even bringing back Joe Heck.
In the 4th Congressional District, the Democrats have an overall lead of over 20,000 votes including the rural counties! This seat was always likely to revert back to the Democrats, but the margin will be crushing.
This will be the first time that Clark County will not have a single Republican Representative in the House since Nevada had a single district back in the 1980 election.
State Senate & Assembly
With the Republicans having a slip 11-10 lead in the Nevada state Senate, the tipping point of control for the next four years will be SD6, which the Republicans were able to pick up in 2012. Republican nominee Gloria Seaman is still behind by almost 3300 votes, or 8%. While Election Day voters tend to be more Republican than early voters, there are so few voters left that reversing this Democrat lead is impossible, which leaves Seaman’s only hope remaining is a combination of local retain politics gaining not only massive crossover votes, but non-partisan and 3rd Party voters by well over 30% margin.
The Democrats also have voter lead in SD5 of nearly 3000, or 8%. It looks like the Republicans will lose the state Senate, for at least the next four years. Republicans, furthermore, continue to be behind in SD15, located in Washoe, where Republicans have been under performing badly. Washoe, despite having a greater Republican plurality of Republicans than in 2012, has a larger Democratic early and absentee voter lead in 2016 than they did in 2012 at this point.
The Assembly looking to be a total reversal of the 2014 results, if not worse. In the nine Assembly districts that Republicans won in Clark County (AD05, AD08,AD09, AD10, AD21, AD29, AD34, AD35, and AD41), the Republicans are all behind be quadruple digits, despite Assembly districts having half the population of state Senate districts. Though Republicans tend to do better on Election Day, it won’t be by enough needed. Even if every single Republican Assembly candidate in those districts has the same gains they received on Election Day 2014, they’d still be behind in raw voters. The Republicans are also behind in AD12, which they were ahead in early voters despite not running a Republican candidate. Combined with the Assembly seat they picked up in Washoe County in 2014, Republicans will be given at least a full reversal from 25-17 lead in the Assembly to a 15-27 minority. Additionally, Republicans are behind in early voting in two districts that they won in both 2012 and 2014: AD04 and AD37, abet by 233 and 362 votes respectively. A Democrat win in either race would give them a 2/3 supermajority in the Assembly, which they last gained in 2008 with Obama’s crushing win for Nevada’s then five electoral votes.
Here are the percentages and comparison with 2012:
|Early Vote + Absentee||36.2%||42.1%||21.7%|
|Total Early 2012||36.1%||44.5%||19.4%|
|Total Early + Absentee 2012||37.0%||43.8%||17.7%|
|Early Vote + Absentee||36.2%||42.1%||22.1%|
|Total Early 2012||32.2%||48.2%||19.5%|
|Total Early + Absentee 2012||33.1%||47.6%||19.3%|
|Early Vote + Absentee||39.0%||39.7%||21.4%|
|Total Early Vote 2012||40.5%||40.0%||19.5%|
|Total Early + Absentee 2012||40.5%||39.9%||19.6%|
3rd Congressional District
|Actual Election Results||50.4%||42.9%||6.8%|
4th Congressional District (excepting part of Lyon County)*
|Actual Election Results||42.1%||50.1%||7.8%|
5th state Senate District
|Actual Election Results||48.0%||52.0%||N/A|
6th state Senate District
|Actual Election Results||50.8%||49.2%||N/A|
Early voting numbers are in. The Assembly and the 4th Congressional District are lost, as expected, for at least the next two years and likely far longer. The state Senate is lost for at least the next four years, with loses in seats won in 2012, with the Republicans already holding every marginal seat up in 2018. The 3rd Congressional District is also gone for the next two years, and perhaps longer unless the Republicans choose a top tier candidate.
The U.S. Senate seat is a toss-up, though Cortez Masto is favored. Due to the rural counties punching well above their electoral weight, Heck still has a chance if the early votes weren’t too unfavorable for him. However, the state and local Republican party central committees actively want to destroy Joe Heck; he will get no help from them… even from the rural counties that could have done the most good.
To whit: Aside from an outside chance of winning the U.S. Senate race, the Republicans in Nevada are screwed.
* Lyon County is split between the 1st and 4th Congressional Districts, and early vote broken down by CD was not immediately available; in 2012, Lyon county gave 3012 votes to the Republican, 1002 to the Democrat, and 280 votes to two 3rd Party candidates.
Let up be reminded of the words of Virgil:
“Do not yield to evil, Attack, attack, more boldly even than fortune seems to permit”
— Virgil, “The Æneid”
Until Election Day…