Will Nevada turn red mid-November?

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If a red wave arrives in November, as many expect, it will likely fail in landlocked Nevada, a state whose recent history of Democratic victories masks how hard-fought those triumphs have been.

In presidential elections, Republicans have not won Nevada since 2004, when President George W. Bush narrowly won the state over John Kerry. Statewide election races were more contested, but still dominated by Democrats overall.

This year could be different. Nevadans will vote on Tuesday in the primary election that will decide which types of candidates will carry the GOP banner in November. And as of now, it looks like a lot of those Republicans could very well get elected.

Much has been written about the woes of Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat who is seeking re-election this year. Whenever his name pops up in national media coverage, it’s invariably accompanied by some version of the phrase “one of the Democrats’ most threatened incumbents.”

There’s Rep. Susie Lee, who squeaked out her Republican opponent by less than 13,000 votes in 2020. Lee’s likely opponent is April Becker, a lawyer who has the backing of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the city. Bedroom.

Representative Steven Horsford, whose district stretches from northern Las Vegas to the center of the state, could also be in trouble. In March, his wife, Sonya Douglass, appeared on Twitter to say she wouldn’t “keep quiet” about the decade-long affair he admitted to having with Gabriela Linder, a former intern of Senator Harry Reid.

Douglass criticized his choice to “run for re-election and force us to endure another season of living through the sordid details of the #horsfordaffair with #mistressforcongress rather than giving us the time and space to heal as a family.

Linder hosted an “audio memoir” of the case under an alias, Love Jones, called “Mistress for Congress”.

After Horsford responded to his first round of tweets, Douglass wrote, “This statement is worse than the May 2020 premiere. The lies never end. Pray @stevenhorsford understands reality and gets the help he needs.

Horsford’s likely opponent is Annie Black, a state legislator who was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Last week, Black sent out a fundraising appeal to supporters with the subject line, “The real ‘big lie’ is that Biden Won ‘Fair and Square’.

Then there’s Rep. Dina Titus, whose historically safe Las Vegas seat is now decidedly unsafe thanks to a move by Nevada Democrats to split some of her former district’s voters between the other two.

The move prompted a vulgar complaint from Titus, who called the redistricting decision “terrible” during remarks at an AFL-CIO event in December.

“They could have created two safe seats for themselves and a swing set,” Titus said. “That would have been smart.” She added: “No, no, we have to have three that will most likely fall.”

Titus, in an interview, noted that she represented parts of her new district when she was in the Nevada Legislature. “It’s like coming home,” she says. “I’ve been gone for a while, but I’m back.

But first, Titus faces a primary challenge from Amy Vilela, an activist who last week won support from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Vilela was co-chair of Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. She previously ran in a primary against Horsford in 2018, losing by a wide margin.

This time, Vilela is waging a progressive insurgent campaign against what she called the “complacency” of Titus and the Democratic establishment, which she says is generating low enthusiasm among voters.

“We absolutely have to start delivering on our promises and start responding to the needs of the working class instead of the donor base,” Vilela said in an interview.

“Well, let’s put it in perspective,” Titus replied, pointing to his record of bringing federal dollars to Nevada. “When Amy tries to portray herself as the progressive and me as the establishment, look at all the endorsements I have. She is a democratic socialist and I am the progressive democrat.

If Nevada goes red in November, the state’s economic woes will be a powerful reason.

Nevada’s unemployment rate soared to 28.5% in April 2020, just after the coronavirus pandemic strangled the tourism industry, which is a large part of the state’s economy. The unemployment rate is now 5%, still not quite at pre-pandemic levels.

Democrats say that without their help, the economic suffering would have been worse. And Mike Noble, a pollster who works in Nevada, said that while a Republican sweep was a possibility, “a lot would have to go well for the GOP to materialize since the Democrats have the incumbent advantage.”

Inflation poses a powerful new threat. On Monday, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Nevada was $5.66, well above the national average of $5. It’s in a state with an anemic public transportation system, where you need a car to get around most places. And rents in Las Vegas, a place known for its transient population, are rising faster than almost any other city in the country.

“Our recovery has been bumpy,” said Stephen Miller, director of research at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. “We fell off the skyscraper and quickly hit rock bottom, then went sideways for a while.”

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In a New Mexico county that Donald Trump lifted by 26 percentage points in the 2020 election, officials voted unanimously to drop the use of electronic voting machines and ballot boxes for mail-in ballots , persuaded by an “audit force” which critics say he planted baseless fraud allegations.

The Otero County Commission, which is made up entirely of Republicans, took the plunge on Thursday after a two-hour presentation by the New Mexico Audit Force, a partisan group whose canvassing activities and adoption of conspiracy theories have caught the attention of Congress.

Couy Griffin, the commissioner who introduced the measures, defended the work of the audit force ahead of the 3-0 vote.

“If the 2020 election was built on a lie,” Griffin said, “which we think it was, we hope they overturn it. We live in a time where we say, ‘I’m not sure the vote is safe”, and it’s like you’re being attacked from every angle like you’re a madman.

The commissioners acknowledged that the vote could be more symbolic than anything else, pointing out that the county clerk, a Republican, will have the final say.

A spokesperson for New Mexico’s top election official – Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the Democratic secretary of state – said in an email Monday that state law governs voting systems and drop boxes. . The county will continue to maintain and use current systems under the authority of the state and the county clerk, he said.

“The vote taken by the Otero County Commission last week has no legal authority,” spokesman Alex Curtas said.

In a move that echoes other Republican efforts across the country to shift to manual vote counting, the commission also voted to manually count ballots in last Tuesday’s primary election, but officials from the state said there was no mechanism for the county to simply order this.

Representatives of the audit force told commissioners that ballots would have to be manually counted for the November election and said the electronic machines – made by Dominion Voting Systems – were susceptible to hacking, in addition to interpret and mark ballots incorrectly.

A representative from Dominion Voting Systems, the target of baseless pro-Trump conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines, said: “This is yet another example of how lies about Dominion have hurt our business and diminished public confidence in elections.”

Gerald Matherly, a commissioner, said he was persuaded the drop boxes were a “scam” after watching “2000 Mules”, a film by conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza which makes numerous false claims about the ” ballot trafficking” and the elections. fraud. An Associated Press analysis of the film found gaping holes in its alleged findings.

— Blake

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