LAS VEGAS - Nevada's Democrats and Republicans are jockeying for a partisan advantage as the state heads toward the first national election since President Donald Trump took office. Democrats still have an advantage in voter registration statewide, but Republicans may be catching up.
This year features a U.S. Senate race, and in the past, those races have always proven to boost democratic voter registration.
Democrats and Republicans were evenly split in Nevada around the turn of the century, which means neither party outpaced the other by more than 9,000 voters until 2008. In 2008, Democrats saw a huge boost in numbers as then-Senator Barack Obama campaigned to become president: By the time voters went to the polls that year, Democrats had 100,000 more voters than Republicans.
Since then, the Democratic advantage had ranged from a low of 56,000 voters to a high of 97,000, bumping up in 2012 and 2016, when presidential or Senate elections topped the ticket.
An advantage of just 60,000 voters in 2010 still didn't stop senator Harry Reid from beating Republican Sharron Angle. But in 2014, when Democrats outpaced Republicans by 64,000 voters, Republicans still managed to win every statewide office and both houses of the Nevada legislature.
Currently, Democrats enjoy an advantage of 73,000 voters; that's 15,000 fewer than they had two years ago when Hillary Clinton won the state and Catherine Cortez Masto beat Republican Joe Heck to win a U.S. Senate seat.
Republicans have been trying to add voters with an aggressive voter registration program they've been running since last year. The state's Democratic party says it will launch its 2018 voter-registration effort in April.
Democrats also suffer disproportionately when officials update voter lists to remove people who have moved away or are no longer participate in elections.
Another factor to note: Non-partisan voters, which are people who have signed up to vote without a political party now make up the third largest voting demographic behind the two major parties, with 315,000 voters.
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