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A Jubilant GOP In Reno

Polling places in Reno, Nevada saw a steady stream of voters today, though more than half of all active voters had cast their ballots early.

 

Graelyn Brashear | Capital Public Radio

 

A Jubilant GOP In Reno

At Reno’s Atlantis Casino at 11 p.m. tonight, you wouldn’t guess by the cheering in a ballroom full of Republicans that Nevada had gone to Clinton and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto had just been declared the winner in the race for Harry Reid’s open U.S. Senate Seat. All eyes were glued to the TV, where Fox News was showing Donald Trump closing in on the presidency.

Washoe County Republican Party Central Committee Chairman Roger Edwards said that “of course” the losses the party took in his state today matter to him. “But we’ve always been fighting the monster in the southern part of the state, and we always will,” he said. “They’ve got the numbers and we don’t. We did a great job.”

But he was counting on a victory on a larger scale.

“We’re on the cusp of a historic moment,” he said, putting his arm around his wife, who stood with him at the back of the ballroom. “A historic moment is unfolding right in front of you. This has changed the history of America.”

And at 11:35 p.m. the Associated Press projected that Republican Donald Trump had secured the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

For Dems In Northern Nevada, Pain Punctuated By Joy

An early call by major news outlets that Nevada’s six electoral votes will go to Hillary Clinton offered a moment of joy during an increasingly tense night in the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s Silver State Pavilion in Reno, where Democrats are holding an election night watch party.

With 28 percent of Nevada precincts reporting as of 10 p.m., Clinton has 49 percent of the vote, according to the Nevada Secretary of State website.

“I am so excited and so proud of the state of Nevada,” said Julia Ratti, who currently holds a commanding lead in her race for the District 13 State Senate seat. When the announcement for Clinton came, “I was jumping up and down like a crazy person.”

But the mood is far from festive in the ballroom right now. Many people are seated in rows of chairs, staring at TV screens that show Donald Trump continuing to pick up states and turn the electoral college map red.

But Ratti is still smiling.

“I’m not going to get too stressed out about the early results,” she said. “It’s not over. Lots of things could happen at this point. I think we just need to wait and see what happens.”

Confidence On Both Sides Of Nevada’s Divisive Gun Control Measure

Nevadans cast their votes today on several hotly contested ballot measures, including one—Question 1—that aims to make background checks mandatory for all gun sales. In the weeks leading up to election day, the “Yes on 1” campaign was enjoying a narrow lead in opinion polls. But in Washoe County today, people on both sides of the debate over the initiative said they were confident their side would carry the day.

Question 1 would make background checks mandatory for all gun buyers, even for those purchasing from private sellers and at gun shows. There are some exceptions: Sales by or to law enforcement agencies, sales of antiques and sales between immediate family members would not require checks. There are also some exceptions for temporary transfers, such as at shooting ranges and during hunting trips.

The measure has been the target of intense spending. The campaigns for and against have together spent about $26 million trying to sway voters. To put that number in perspective, consider that campaigns for and against California’s Prop 64, which aims to legalize recreational marijuana, spent about $24 million—and Nevada has about 7 percent of California’s population.

The “Vote Yes on 1” campaign spent the vast majority of that $26 million, and most of that money came from a group called Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun-control nonprofit supported by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Former Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley is a vocal supporter of Question 1, and said today he believed it would get the votes needed to pass.

“In Washoe County, there are many of my friends who are NRA members and hunters who believe that we ought to have reasonable restrictions on who can purchase a weapon,” Haley said. “I get the sense that there is a huge support for this initiative here.”

But Washoe County Republican Party Central Committee Chairman Roger Edwards said he doesn’t believe pre-election opinion polls accurately reflect opinions here. He said people he’s talked to are outraged at the idea of more gun control in Nevada.

“And not just Republicans,” he said. “Anyone who owns a gun, wants to own a gun or thinks it’s our duty as an American citizen to be able to fight off our government when they get to be too repressive and can see what the progressive liberals, the Democrats, are trying to do, and they should be totally enraged.”

In Washoe County, NV, Dissatisfaction Leads To Split Tickets

On the other side of the Sierra in Washoe County, Nevada, the polls have now closed. More than half of all active voters here had already cast their ballots before election day, and while the early voting appeared to favor Democrats, the races for President, for an open Senate seat and for several big ballot measures are going to be close.

In this swing county in a swing state, many people leaving the polls said they’d voted a split ticket—or voted “None of the above” for President.

"I'm not for either one of the presidential candidates,” said Ashley Kane, a registered Republican voting in suburban Reno this morning. “I don't know. It just kind of makes me feel sick to my stomach a little bit. So I just, I had to choose neither, because I have to sleep at night."

Diego Urias Paz, a 21-year-old Air Force intelligence analyst, voted in his first election this morning. And even though he’s a registered Democrat and voted for Democrats further down the ballot, he chose Gary Johnson for President. He said door knockers had told him he was throwing away his vote, but it didn’t faze him.

“I figured my vote was as good as anybody else’s, so it didn’t really change my mind,” he said.