WASHINGTON — Democrats could lose control of two of the three seats they control in Southern Nevada as races tighten in the final days before the November election.
Although early voting shows a slight lead in the most competitive districts, at least one recent poll puts Republicans ahead, buoyed by worries about the economy.
Nonpartisan pundits and analysts are predicting tight races nationwide, with Republicans poised to make gains in Nevada.
“I have a hard time seeing the Democrats holding on to all three seats in this environment,” said J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan political newsletter on disability.
Republicans only need to flip five seats to wrest the hammer from the Democrats, who won the chamber in the 2018 midterm elections under the Trump administration.
The three reelection-seeking Democrats, Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, portrayed their Republican opponents, Mark Robertson, April Becker and Sam Peters, respectively, as extreme on abortion rights and other social issues. But GOP challengers, meanwhile, say the incumbents are spendthrift and reckless with federal aid that has led to record inflation, high gas prices and a shrinking economy. .
The state’s lone Republican in the congressional district, Rep. Mark Amodei of Carson City, is a heavy favorite for reelection over his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Mercedes Krause, and two third-party candidates.
A recent Emerson College/KLAS-TV Channel 8 poll shows Robertson at 54% and Titus at 42% in the 1st District, while Becker leads Lee 52% to 47% in the 3rd District. Horsford is the only leading Democrat in this poll, ahead of Peters 51% to 47%. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, except for the 3rd District, in which the margin is 4.3 percentage points.
In addition to the current economic woes, Democrats are battling historical trends that favor which party does not hold the presidency in the midterm elections.
President Joe Biden’s low approval rating in national polls is seen as an additional drag on vulnerable Democrats in fringe districts.
Biden did not campaign in Nevada.
Republicans have taken on the economy to beat Democrats on an issue that resonates with families grappling with rising costs and eroding purchasing power, despite record unemployment.
Robertson, a small-business owner in Henderson, has linked Biden and Titus to congressional spending bills passed by Democrats that Robertson said fueled inflation and rising costs for Nevada families.
“Unfortunately, it was these workers that Joe Biden and Dina Titus ignored. It was their reckless spending spree that caused the highest inflation we’ve seen in forty years,” Robertson said last month.
Titus, seeking a seventh term in Congressional District 1, says Robertson would only be a “buffer” for Republicans’ “extremist and unpopular agenda”.
As the dean of Nevada’s congressional delegation, Titus touts her seniority and success in delivering federal aid to the state when she was laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic that ended the tourism and hospitality industry.
Titus also moved his post to warn against GOP cutback programs for seniors, such as Social Security and Medicare.
Although Titus won re-election in 2020 with 62% of the vote, the Democratic-controlled legislature drew new lines in Congress in 2021 that carved out the once strong stronghold to shore up neighboring districts.
Cook’s nonpartisan political report, which measures the strength of partisan votes in congressional districts, calculated that Titus’ former riding fell from an 11-point Democratic advantage to just three points.
A loss of Democratic precincts to Nevada’s Congressional District 3 has made District 1 competitive in a year that favors Republicans. The only way the Nevada Democrats could have strengthened the three congressional seats held by the Democrats was to blatantly gerrymander a district stretching from Las Vegas to Reno.
They opted against that and now all three Democratic seats are under threat, particularly the 1st and 3rd districts, according to Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman.
Friday’s early vote total showed Democrats leading Republicans by just over 8,500 votes, with nearly 30,000 nonpartisan votes in the District 1 race.
Cook’s political report called the District 1 race a “blow of luck,” while Sabato’s Crystal Ball called it a “skinny Democrat,” albeit vulnerable to a “red wave.”
In neighboring Congressional District 3, nonpartisan pundits are rating the race between Lee and Becker as a “hit and miss,” based on the makeup of the suburban and rural district around Las Vegas.
It has always been a swing district, with Democrats and Republicans winning the seat in recent years.
Independents have more influence in District 3, where Democrats led Republicans by just 6,400 votes on Friday, with nearly 34,000 nonpartisan ballots.
Lee, seeking a third term, attacked Becker on abortion, with the endorsement of groups seeking to restrict access to the procedure. That’s Lee’s central message in the wealthiest district with potential cross-votes from Republican women and independents.
A member of the House Appropriations Committee responsible for overseeing all federal spending, Lee also touts her role as a moderate and votes for infrastructure, water projects, lowering prescription drug prices for the elderly and pandemic relief. for local businesses and workers.
Becker, a real estate attorney, downplayed the abortion issue. She opposes abortion but supports the procedure in case of rape, incest and threat to the health of the mother.
Instead, Becker hammers his opponent for spending and inflation. Becker said Lee voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and backed spending bills that drove up prices while supporting the government’s shutdown of businesses and schools during the pandemic. .
Becker is backed by current House Republican leaders, who view Becker as the party’s best shot at securing a congressional seat in Southern Nevada.
In 2020, Becker narrowly lost a bid for the state Senate, proving his campaign’s bona fides.
Coleman, along with Sabato’s Crystal Ball, said “Lee is the most vulnerable” of the state’s Democratic congressional incumbents. “She has the most fringe district and an announced opponent,” Coleman said.
Analysts rate Horsford, in Congressional District 4, as the most likely to win reelection in a broad jurisdiction that includes Mesquite, northern Las Vegas, Pahrump and central Nevada counties.
Horsford is building on his track record and success with the House Ways and Means Committee which drafted the Prescription Drug Relief for the Elderly and Child Tax Credits Act to benefit families in his neighborhood worker.
Horsford also has “the most polarizing opponent,” Coleman noted. Real estate businessman Sam Peters has been endorsed by members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are considered the most conservative in Congress.
Peters has questioned the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, but he insists he is not an election denier and has been unfairly labeled an extremist by the media.
Peters supporters recently gathered outside an event in east Las Vegas where Horsford spoke. Peters’ supporters were openly carrying weapons, which is legal in Nevada, and dispersed without incident after police arrived, according to the incident report.
But the incident sparked complaints about the tactics and intimidation of Horsford and those at the event, which included other Democratic congressmen of color.
Peters, a retired Air Force major, has made Southwest border security, immigration and drug trafficking a major theme in his campaign.
With Nevada’s congressional districts in the Las Vegas Valley competitive, national media representatives have flocked to the state. “I would say that at this point the Democrats are at a very real risk of being left out of the House delegation,” Coleman said of the Nevada races.
“It’s almost ironic that Horsford was swept away by the Republican wave of 2014, but he may be the best-placed House Democrat this cycle. To me, it’s a turnaround more than anything. Coleman said.