Turnout for the 2022 Nevada general election was a surprisingly low 54.58% of active registered voters. That’s far less than most predicted.
This compares to over 77% of voters who voted in the 2020 presidential year and the 62% who cast their ballots in the last midterm election in 2018.
Turnout in Democrat-dominated Clark County lagged behind at just 51%. In contrast, turnout in Washoe County was 63%. Each of the 15 rural counties exceeded the national average, including Douglas (72%), Carson (63%) and Elko (57.5%).
The massive amount of negative political publicity no doubt helped scare off voters — and stifled turnout.
The marquee elections for the US Senate and US Governor led to a partisan result.
Democratic incumbent US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto narrowly defeated Republican challenger Adam Laxalt by 7,964 votes (0.8%).
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For governor, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the GOP nominee, defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak by a narrow margin of 15,386 votes (1.5%).
There were 23,314 “ticket splitters” voting for Cortez Masto for Senate and Lombardo for Governor. Lombardo received a larger share of the vote in the Rurals and had a much better performance in Washoe compared to Laxalt.
However, it was his stronger performance in Clark County that sealed the deal against Sisolak. Support for Lombardo versus Laxalt in Clark topped 14,500 votes.
As the gubernatorial candidate, Lombardo offered a credible conservative Republican alternative from southern Nevada. He cut Sisolak’s Clark County support and became the only national-level challenger to defeat an incumbent in 36 gubernatorial races.
Governor-elect Lombardo also became the rare statewide winner, losing both Clark and Washoe Counties. His entire lead came from the Rurals – he won them by over 56,600 votes.
Cortez Masto’s long political history and knowledge of Nevada interests saw her make small gains with some Republican voters. The fact that Laxalt was President Trump’s Nevada co-chairman in 2020 and championed Trump’s unsubstantiated post-election allegations of voter fraud contributed to his defeat.
Laxalt, like all statewide candidates most closely associated with Trump, lost their elections.
Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford defeated far-right Republican Sigal Chattah by over 77,000 votes (7.9%).
Acting Democrat Treasurer Zack Conine defeated gun rights arsonist Michele Fiore by 17,000 votes (1.7%). Fiore is under investigation by the FBI for campaign finance matters, and her financial history includes dozens of IRS tax liens filed against her.
The Democrats took over the open office of Secretary of State. Cisco Aguilar defeated Republican Jim Marchant by 23,000 votes (2.9%). Marchant made 2020 election fraud the centerpiece of his campaign, with extreme and unproven claims of rigged elections going back decades.
The GOP won two other offices in the state of Nevada in addition to the governorship.
Republican Stavros Anthony, a member of the Las Vegas City Council, defeated the Democrat-appointed Lisa Cano Burkhead as Lt. governor. And Andy Mathews, member of the Republican Convention, won the election to the open controller post.
Anthony and Mathews ran ahead of Lombardo.
Democrats reaped the benefits of their extremely partisan gerrymander in the legislative and congressional districts last November.
While Democrats make up 33 percent of Nevada voters, they have fought their way through legislative cards that experts say will guarantee them over 70 percent of legislative seats in Congress and the states.
Mark Amodei, easily re-elected in his northern Nevada district, remains the only Republican on the state’s congressional delegation.
Thanks to gerrymandering, three congressional Democrats, Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Stephen Horsford, were reelected. Republican candidates actually received more total votes in Nevada’s four congressional districts — 515,535 to 480,774.
The Democrats won a supermajority in the state assembly (28-14) and won two seats. The Democrats also won a Senate seat, falling one vote behind a supermajority (13-8). A two-thirds majority is required to increase taxes or override a governor’s veto.
The election of governor-elect Lombardo will bring partisan balance to one-party rule in Nevada.
Email Jim Hartman at [email protected]