The Nevada Caucus, which is the third nomination event on the 2020 calendar and scheduled for Saturday, February 22nd, should become more prominent in this year’s campaign. If two different Democratic presidential candidates finish first in Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada will prove an interesting momentum springboard into the South Carolina primary, which is right before the March 3rd Super Tuesday voting. A total of 14 states and one territory, representing a combined total of 1,400 first ballot delegates, will hold their elections on the first Tuesday in March.
The Morning Consult firm just released their latest polling numbers for the Nevada Caucus, which came from their rolling national sample conducted during the first three weeks of July. The 749 Nevada Democratic respondents give former Vice President Joe Biden a 29-23% lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) following with 12 and 11%, respectively. All other candidates landed in single digits.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton scored a relatively close victory over Sen. Sanders (Clinton 46%, Sanders 35%, Uncommitted Slate 19%) in the Nevada Caucus, but the event was marked with short tempers and various physical altercations at the main venue in Las Vegas.
The central Nevada 4th District, created in the 2011 redistricting plan to cover the northern Las Vegas area and stretch to through the central part of the state, will again be very active in the 2020 election cycle. Yesterday, Nye County Commissioner Lee Blundo (R) joined the growing field of Republican candidates who will compete for the party nomination to challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) next year. Five other Republicans, including former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant, are already in the race. Though clearly leaning Democratic, the 4th District has not yet re-elected any of its incumbents since created at the beginning of the decade as the state’s newly awarded seat.
Entrepreneur Lisa Song Sutton, who was Miss Nevada USA in 2014, announced that she will seek the Republican nomination to eventually challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas). Though the district leans Democratic, the campaign could become competitive.
Mr. Horsford was first elected in 2012 when the seat was added to the Nevada delegation as a result of the 2010 apportionment. But, he lost re-election after one term to Republican Cresent Hardy, who then lost his own re-election two years later. When Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) ran into a sex scandal and didn’t seek his first re-election, Mr. Horsford returned, this time defeating Mr. Hardy. The short electoral history indicates that the 4th District electorate has yet to re-elect its incumbent. Therefore, a Horsford-Sutton match could become a race to watch.
In what is becoming a familiar pattern across the country, former Vice President Joe Biden now leads the Nevada Caucus according to a new Monmouth University survey (6/6-11; 370 NV likely Democratic Caucus attenders). Monmouth projects Mr. Biden placing first with 36% over Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who has surged to 19% as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who had trouble in Nevada back in 2016, drops to 13 percent.
All other candidates are in single digits led by Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 7% and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) with 6%. If Sen. Harris is going to become a factor before the important California primary on March 3rd, Nevada is one place where she will need to finish strongly.
Former one-term Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) didn’t seek re-election last year because of sexual harassment accusations. Instead, he opted to attempt a political comeback by running for a district seat on the Las Vegas City Council. On Tuesday, the Kihuen move failed, as he missed qualifying for the runoff election by a mere five votes.
At this point, the Kihuen campaign is unlikely to call for a recount even though the raw vote margin is so slim. But, with just 3,065 total votes cast the fact that Mr. Kihuen, who served in the state Assembly and Senate prior to winning the NV-4 congressional seat, couldn’t manage more than 861 votes is a sign that he would not be successful in winning election to the Council even if a recount changed the results.
Nevada former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant (R) has filed a 2020 congressional political committee with the Federal Election Commission, signaling he is preparing to challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) next year.
Mr. Horsford was first elected in 2012 but defeated for re-election two years later by Republican Cresent Hardy, who Democrat Ruben Kihuen then unseated in 2016. In the 2018 open seat, Mr. Horsford returned to the House, this time defeating Mr. Hardy when Rep. Kihuen declined to seek re-election due to sexual harassment allegations. Now, it is already obvious that Rep. Horsford will again face a contested re-election campaign in what has proven itself a swing district.
Former US Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas), who retired after one term after dealing with several sexual harassment accusations, announced that he will now run for a seat on the Las Vegas City Council. Earlier he filed an exploratory committee to assess his chances, and obviously the initial research indicates his chances of winning are enough to launch an official political effort. Before winning his congressional seat in 2016, Mr. Kihuen served in the Nevada state Senate and Assembly.
First-term Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas), who did not seek re-election after being publicly accused of sexual harassment, is apparently not done with running for office. Mr. Kihuen has already opened a campaign committee to run for Las Vegas City Council next year, so it will be interesting to see if the controversy that cost him his congressional career will be a factor in a local Las Vegas city race.
Public Policy Polling conducted a healthcare survey for the Protect our Care organization (10/15-16; 648 NV likely voters). The questionnaire contained several questions designed to promote the Democratic position on healthcare and detract from the Republicans. Considering this, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) holds a 48-46% lead over Sen. Dean Heller (R) according to the PPP results.
Recently, most polling has shown Sen. Heller leading, so these results, especially when push questions are involved, are not wholly inconsistent with the recent trend. The ballot test actually looks more favorably toward Sen. Heller when seeing his favorability index dropping to relatively poor 40:52% in this poll. This compares unfavorably even to President Trump’s index that posts a better 46:50%.
Vox Populi also surveyed the tight Nevada Senate race. Their new Silver State poll (10/13-15; 613 NV “active” voters) finds the two candidates, Sen. Dean Heller (R) and Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson), tied at 44% apiece. When pushed, the undecideds lean a bit more to Rosen, given her an overall edge of 51-49%.
These results are consistent with most Nevada polling. Recently, several surveys have shown Sen. Heller to be in better shape but, overall, the data continues to find that the margin between these two candidates is razor thin and either can win the race.
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