The first of two weeks of early voting has finished up, with one more to go. The Democrats early voter lead is only 9021 registered voters, which shrinks by half to 4549, when returned absentees are included.* In comparison, in 2016, the Democrats had a lead of 29,369 from early voting after the first week, and 27,150 when returned absentees were included. Hillary Clinton and Cortez Masto won statewide by about 27,000 votes each, though the later did barely lose Washoe County. With turnout overall at just under 80% of what it was in 2016, that 27,000 lead would translate, ceteris peribus, to just over 21,000 votes, which is more than the just under 25,000 voter lead drop the Democrats have seen overall so far in early voting/returned absentees. While this does not prove that both Laxalt and Heller are en route to defeat Sisolak and Rosen for Governor and U.S. Senate, respectively, it is a good sign for the former.
For Clark County, the Democrats advantage after the first weekend is 18,039 in early voting, which drops by forty votes when returned absentees are included. The Democrats’ lead was just under 38,000 in 2012, and nearly 39,000 in 2016; in contrast, in 2010, another Gubernatorial year, it was only about 9,000. Since 2010, the total electorate has increased, as has the use of early voting, so 2010 comparisons of raw numbers are not necessary useful. The Democrats edge in Clark county is at 10%, or about six thousand votes, which is less than their 12½% active voter registration edge in the county; this drops to less than 9% when returned absentees are included.
For Washoe County, the Democrats retain a lead of 2184 voters in early voting, which shrinks to 620 voters when returned absentees are included, resulting with the Democats having a lead of just 1%, which stands in contrast with the 2% lead Republicans have in voter registration. For comparison, Democrats had a voter lead in 2016 of 2492 total early voters and returned absentees. Considering that Heck barely won Washoe in 2016, and that Trump lost it at the same election, it is not impossible that both Laxalt and Heller lose both Clark and Washoe, but still win statewide due to the lower Democratic margin in Clark combined with typically strong rural turnout. However, both Laxalt and Heller have northern Nevada powerbases, while both Sisolak and Rosen are based solely in southern Nevada, which could provide an additional vote buffer from northern Nevada due to northen vs. southern rivalry and a desire by the north to keep a check on the south. The only rub is that independent gubernatorial candidate Bundy might siphon off enough votes from Laxalt to throw the election Sisolak.
In the early vote alone, the Democrats are doing much worse in Clark County compared to 2016, but actually doing fairly well in Washoe County for a non-Presidential year, with the Democrats lead statewide being primarily due to the heavy dropoff of Democrats vis-à-vis Clark County. Going forward, the second week of early voting will add to the Democrats overall lead, though not by a large margin, with perhaps less than a 10,000 voter lead, excluding late returning absentee ballots.
In the Congressional races, the Republicans are behind in both the 3rd and 4th Congressional races. In the 3rd, Republican Tarkanian is only 1390 behind Democrat Lee in early voters, or just under 2%. In the 4th, former GOP Congressman Hardy is behind former Dem Congressman Horsford in the Clark County portion of the district (which makes up the majority of the district population-wise, by 6036 voters or just over 10%, when one includes the rural counties save for Lyon County, this drops to 3464 voters, or about 5% of the overall vote. Lyon County is split between the 2nd and 4th Congressional districts and the split by said districts was not immediately available, but Republicans had a turnout advantage of 2180 votes or nearly 33%; Horsford won Lyon County by just over 2000 votes in 2016. In 2014, when Hardy defeated Horsford, it was by 4000 votes, with Horsford only winning Clark County by about 2000 votes; with the Democrats up over 6000 voters in Clark County, the 4th is likely a long shot for Republicans at this point.
In the state Senate, the Republicans have 9 seats to the Democrats 11, with one former Republican turned independent caucusing with the Demcorats who is not running for reelection. There is no possibility of the GOP picking up seats this cycle, aside from regaining SD08, which is being vacated by the aforementioned Republican turned independent. However, the Republicans have a shot at picking up SD05 and SD06 in 2020, which means that they need to pick up one of those seats to regain a majority in time for redistricting if they hold all their Senate seats this year, and both if they lose one. Losing more than one would preclude them from regaining the state Senate until after redistricting. In SD08 and SD20, the Democrats have a lead of less than 1% in voter turn-out, with a voter lead of 147 and 129, respectively. While not a good position for Republicans, it is not insurmountable either. However, in the SD09, the Democrats have a lead of 1214; this seat is likely lost, as the percentage advantage over 8%, which is not far off from the ca 12% lead the Democrats had in the SD05 and SD06 in 2016, which translated to about 2000 votes and 1900 votes respectively after the first week. By comparison, the actual results saw the Democrats winning SD05 and SD06 by about 500 votes and 1100 votes respectively.
|Early Vote + Absentee||39.9%||41.4%||18.7%|
|Early Vote 2016||35.6%||44.7%||19.7%|
|Early Vote + Absentee 2016||36.4%||43.9%||19.6%|
|Early Vote 2012||36.3%||46.0%||17.7%|
|Early + Absentee 2012||37.3%||45.3%||17.4%|
|Early Vote + Absentee||36.1%||44.8%||19.1%|
|Early Vote (1st Week) 2010||37.9%||46.4%||15.8%|
|Early Vote 2016||31.6%||48.2%||20.1%|
|Early Vote + Absentee 2016||32.3%||47.6%||20.1%|
|Early Vote 2012||31.6%||50.2%||18.2%|
|Early + Absentee 2012||32.8%||49.4%||17.|
|Early Vote + Absentee||40.6%||41.6%||17.8%|
|Early Vote 201116||38.1%||43.2%||18.6%|
|Early Vote + Absentee 20116||38.9%||42.4%||18.7%|
|Early Vote 2012||40.7%||42.7%||16.6%|
|Early + Absentee 2012||41.0%||42.4%||16.6%|
3rd Congressional District
|Early Vote (1st Week) 2016||35.7%||43.4%||20.9%|
4th Congressional District (Excepting part of Lyon County)**
|Early Vote (1st Week) 2016||31.4%||49.2%||19.4%|
|Early Vote (1st Week)||33.9%||46.4%||19.7%|
|Actual Results||47.0%||47.9%||5.1% (Libertarian)|
|Early Vote (1st Week)||34.7%||46.1%||19.1%|
After the first week of early voting, the Republicans are in a much better position than they were in the Presidential year of 2016. To a large degree, this is due to higher turnout amongst Republicans than Democrats, with early voter and returned absentee advantage of banked votes the Democrats had in 2016 being about halved in Clark County compared to this point in 2016. The statewide races for Governor and U.S. Senate will be tight, and will likely be effected by how the independents and 3rd Party voters swing, and in the case of the gubernatorial race, how many votes Bundy siphons off from Laxalt. For the down-ticket statewide races, it seems likely that the two incumbents running for re-election (Knecht for Controller and Cegavske for Secreatry of State) will likely win re-election, with Knecht getting the highest vote total for the Republican candidates. Beers is likely to retain the Treasurers seat, and Duncan has at least a 50/50 chance of retaining the Attorney General’s seat for the Republicans as well. However, the Lt. Governor’s race will likely go to the Demcorat Kate Marshall due to her being from northern Nevada and Republican Michael Roberson being from southern Nevada; Marshall not only won Washoe County in the Republican tsunami of 2014, but even one the rural county of Mineral. In the Congressional and state Senate races, though behind, the Republicans are doing well in CD03, SD08, and SD20; they are behind in CD04, though better than in 2016, still probably not good enough for this year; they should be hitting the panic button over SD09, which is a very critical seat if they want to win back control of the state Senate in 2020, especially if Sisolak wins the Gubernatorial race.
To wit: Republicans are doing better than in 2016, but it might not be enough.
* As of posting, Esmeralda hasn’t sent in numbers for Wednesday through Friday, Lyon and Storey haven’t sent in numbers for Thursday and Friday, and White Pine hasn’t sent in numbers for Friday.
*** Lyon County is split between the 1st and 4th Congressional Districts, and early vote broken down by CD was not immediately available; Hardy won Lyon County by 2144 votes in 209116.
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 the next update…