Nevada Legislative incumbents win most races

Election workers process boxes of ballots at the Clark County Election Department in North Las ...

Incumbents ruled the day in the 2022 primary for state legislative races. Of the 11 races where incumbents were challenged between the state Assembly and Senate, the incumbent won every time except for one.

The lone loser was Republican Don Tatro of Senate District 16 in Carson City. While technically an incumbent, Tatro was appointed to his seat in November 2021 and was never elected.

With almost all ballots counted, only two legislative races remain within two percentage points. They are the Republican primaries for Assembly District 29, in Henderson, and Assembly District 5, in The Lakes neighborhood of Las Vegas. Both districts are represented by Democrats.

Since ballot counting began, one county flipped in the U.S. Senate primary: Republican Adam Laxalt completed his sweep of Nevada as he took the lead in Douglas County and now leads in every county in the state. He won his primary against Sam Brown, taking 56 percent of the vote. He will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in November.

Fight the power

Two close legislative races pitted power-backed candidates against each other for open seats.

In Senate District 17, the rural area surrounding Reno and Carson City, two Republican legislature leaders faced off. Longtime assemblywoman and current GOP caucus leader Robin Titus defeated former leader and Assembly colleague Jim Wheeler. Wheeler was the head of the Republican caucus in the Assembly starting in 2017, but was ousted after poor election results in 2019. Titus was his replacement, and won the state Senate race by just over 3 percent.

A Democratic Assembly race saw one school board member take on a candidate backed by multiple state education associations. In Assembly District 27, north of Reno, Washoe County School District Trustee Angie Taylor defeated Brian Lee. The race was highlighted by mudslinging flyers which connected each candidate to Republicans.

Weak endorsements

The state Republican and Democratic parties saw a number of their endorsed candidates lose on election night. Three of Republicans’ five endorsed candidates for Senate lost, as did two of the party’s seven endorsed Assembly candidates. The Democratic Party fared better, with only one endorsed candidate losing in an Assembly race upset.

Election results were middling for the Vegas Chamber, which saw 13 of its 20 contested endorsed candidates win their races overall. The chamber makes endorsements based on candidate’s “knowledge and understanding of business issues, voting record (when applicable), as well as dedication to creating a good environment for business growth, job creation and economic development.”

The organization endorsed a slate of Democrats and Republicans.

The chamber went 2-for-3 in contested Senate races, where the endorsed Tatro lost to Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner. In the Assembly, four of the chamber’s 10 contested candidates lost.

The Vegas Chamber also picked Tom Roberts over Kevin McMahill for Clark County Sheriff. McMahill took 58 percent of the vote in the primary and won the job outright.

The chamber had fewer wins in 2022 than in the last primary in 2020, where nine of its 13 contested endorsed candidates won. That year, the chamber’s endorsees were 0-for-1 in the Senate and 8-for-10 in the Assembly in contested primary races.

The Vegas Chamber did not respond to a request for comment.

Contact Nick Robertson at Follow @NickRobertsonSU on Twitter.