LAS VEGAS -- The lackluster voter turnout typical of Nevada primary elections held to form Tuesday but those who cast ballots did their part to set the field for November's general election.
With 690,357 registered voters in Clark County, election turnout was 16.2 percent, including 8.18 percent from early voting and 2.14 percent from ballots by mail. County turnout for the 2008 primary was 14.76 percent.
Aside from Patricia Spearman's defeat of incumbent state Sen. John Lee in the Democratic primary in Senate District 1, the election produced few surprises.
The primary race that captured the most attention was the Republican battle for the newly created 4th Congressional District seat, a contest Danny Tarkanian won late Tuesday night over runner-up Barbara Cegavske. Tarkanian, the son of legendary former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, faces Democrat Steven A. Horsford, who is leaving his post as state Senate majority leader. Other general election candidates in that district, which leans Democratic, are Floyd Fitzgibbons of the Independent American Party and Joseph P. Silvestri of the Libertarian Party.
Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley easily defeated nominal opposition in their respective primaries for the opportunity to face one another for Heller's seat. With control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance, this will be one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country. Independent American candidate David Lory VanderBeek of Pahrump will also be on the ballot.
The only Clark County Commission primary was the Republican contest in District C, won by Craig O. Lake. He will face incumbent Democratic Commissioner Larry Brown and Brad Lee Barnhill of the Independent American Party in a district that leans Democratic.
Residents of Laughlin, an unincorporated township, also voted on whether to convert their community into a city. The ‘no' votes were winning 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent in early returns.
Proponents of the measure argued that the best government is the one closest to the people it serves. Establishing a city would allow Laughlin residents to cut government waste and make services more efficient while also preserving water rights and development of parks, proponents said. They also said a more business friendly environment would be created.
Foes argued that becoming a city would be too risky and would actually create a financial deficit for its residents. Opponents said that if Laughlin became financially unsound, it couldn't just ask to return to Clark County's jurisdiction. Yet Laughlin, as a city, risked being taken over by the Nevada Tax Commission if found to be financially unstable and its residents could face higher taxes, foes said.
In the 1st Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Berkley, Republican Chris Edwards won the party's primary for the right to face Democratic former Rep. Dina Titus, who is heavily favored to win in the Democratic-leaning district. Fellow candidates will be the Libertarian Party's William "Bill" Pojunis and Stan Vaughan of the Independent American Party.
Republican Rep. Joe Heck, seeking to retain his seat in the 3rd Congressional District, easily defeated fellow Republican Chris Dyer and will be challenged in November by Democrat John Oceguera, the current Assembly speaker. Oceguera had little problem getting past five fellow Democrats to win his primary. The other competitors in this district, which leans Republican, are Tom Jones of the Independent American Party and independent candidate Jim Murphy.
Here's how races for state Senate and Assembly seats look based on the primary results:
State Senate District 1 (Democratic voter registration edge) -- Democrat Patricia Spearman will face Gregory Hughes of the Independent American Party in November. Spearman defeated incumbent state Sen. John Lee.
State Senate District 4 (Democratic edge) -- Democrat Kelvin Atkinson, who now serves in the Assembly, meets Republican Linda West Myers.
State Senate District 5 (Democratic edge) -- Republican Steve Kirk faces Democrat Joyce Woodhouse.
State Senate District 6 (Democratic edge) -- Democrat Benny Yerushalmi will meet Republican Mark Hutchison.
State Senate District 9 (Democratic edge) -- Democrat Justin C. Jones faces Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin.
State Senate District 11 (Democratic edge) -- Democrat Aaron D. Ford will square off against Republican John Drake.
State Senate District 18 (Republican edge) -- Republican Assemblyman Scott T. Hammond meets Democrat Kelli Ross.
Assembly District 3 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce faces Republican Phyllis F. Moilanen.
Assembly District 5 (Democratic edge) -- Republican Bill Harrington will meet incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop and Jason Reeves of the Independent American Party.
Assembly District 7 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Dina Neal faces Republican Brent T. Leavitt.
Assembly District 8 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Jason Frierson meets Republican Arthur D. Martinez.
Assembly District 9 (Democratic edge) -- Democrat Andrew Martin faces Republican C. Kelly Hurst.
Assembly District 10 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Joseph Hogan will square off against Republican Tim Farrell.
Assembly District 12 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblyman James Ohrenschall meets Republican Bridgette Bryant.
Assembly District 13 (Republican edge) -- Republican Paul Anderson faces Democrat Louis Desalvio.
Assembly District 15 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Elliot Anderson meets Republican Megan Heryet.
Assembly District 16 (Democratic edge) -- Democrat Heidi Swank squares off against Republican Ben Boarman.
Assembly District 17 (Democratic edge) -- Republican Len Marciano defeated Patrick Mendez late Tuesday night. He will face Democratic Assemblyman Steven Brooks, who now represents District 19.
Assembly District 20 (Democratic edge) -- Republican Eric Mendoza will go up against Democrat Ellen Spiegel.
Assembly District 21 (Democratic edge) -- Republican Becky Harris, Democrat Andy Eisen and Les McKay of the Independent American Party will appear on the general election ballot.
Assembly District 28 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores crushed fellow Democrats Abraham Camejo and Luis Alberto Rendon to win another two-year term.
Assembly District 34 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblyman William Horne will face Republican Clark Harrington.
Assembly District 35 (Democratic edge) -- Republican Tom Blanchard will square off against Democrat James W. Healey.
Assembly District 42 (Democratic edge) -- Incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante will face Republican Robert McEntee.
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