We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

What To Know About Nevada's Primary Election

John Locher / AP Photo

In this June 14, 2016, file photo, a woman walks out of a polling place after voting in the Nevada primary election in Las Vegas.

John Locher / AP Photo

(AP) — Voters will settle a tight race between two Democrats hoping to become the next governor and pick nominees in dozens of primary battles Tuesday for national, state and local offices.

The winner of the gubernatorial primary between Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak, Christina Giunchigliani and four others is expected to face Republican Adam Laxalt in November.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller is considered to be vulnerable in his re-election bid in November, but appears to have an easy primary battle against four lesser-known candidates after President Donald Trump persuaded Danny Tarkanian to instead run for the U.S. House.

Many took advantage of two weeks of early voting. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A look at the top races:


The close race between Sisolak and Giunchigliani comes as Democrats hope to take the Nevada governor's mansion for the first time in about two decades. Sisolak has the endorsement of former Sen. Harry Reid but faces some skepticism for having once received an "A-minus" rating from the National Rifle Association. Giunchigliani, who goes by "Chris G," is a state legislator and teacher and has the backing from women's group Emily's List and Hillary Clinton. Laxalt, favored in an eight-way Republican primary, is a former U.S. Navy lieutenant who has been attorney general since 2015. He's the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and son of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico.


Heller, in office for about three decades, was originally expected to face a bruising primary battle against Tarkanian, who spent months hammering him for his less-than-enthusiastic support of Trump. Heller has improved his relationship with the president in recent months. Heller estimates Tarkanian's decision to run for the House saved him $3 to $5 million he would have spent in the primary. Because he's facing a handful of lesser-known candidates he is preparing to match up with Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen in November. Rosen is a first-term congresswoman and a former computer programmer, software designer and president of a Henderson synagogue. She is expected to prevail in her six-way race for the Democratic nomination.


Tarkanian jumped into the race for the 3rd Congressional District as one of the most recognizable names in the GOP field. He's up against eight others, including state Sen. Scott Hammond and former KLAS-TV reporter Michelle Mortensen.

On the Democratic side, Democratic philanthropist Susie Lee is favored in a seven-way primary. The seat is currently held by Rosen but is considered a swing district.

The 4th Congressional Seat, also considered a swing seat, is held by Democrat Ruben Kihuen. He is not running for re-election after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, which he has denied. A dozen Democratic and Republican candidates are vying to replace him. Former Rep. Steven Horsford is leading a six-way Democratic primary. Horsford served one term before losing in 2014 to Republican Cresent Hardy, who is favored in his six-way race. Hardy also served one term before losing to Kihuen.

Two incumbents seeking re-election, Democrat Dina Titus and Republican Mark Amodei, are expected to win their re-election battles, but Amodei is facing a far-right challenge Tuesday from conservative activist Sharron Angle. She gained national attention in 2010 when she unsuccessfully challenged Reid.


Nevadans will also decide primaries for four statewide offices. Nevada Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson is facing former Assembly member Brent Jones and a handful of others in a GOP race for lieutenant governor, while former state Treasurer Kate Marshall is competing on the Democratic side.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford is running against a political unknown, Stuart MacKie, in a Democratic race for Nevada attorney general. On the Republican side, former Assembly member Wes Duncan is running against attorney Craig Mueller.

Republicans will also settle primary races for secretary of state, where incumbent Barbara Cegavske is favored, and state treasurer, where former state lawmaker and Las Vegas councilman Bob Beers faces financial planner Derek Uehara.

Five candidates are in a nonpartisan runoff race for a state Supreme Court seat.

In Clark County, Democratic District Attorney Steve Wolfson faces a challenge from criminal defense attorney Robert Langford. No opponent from another party is in the race, so the winner of Tuesday's primary will win the seat in November.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo is also running for re-election Tuesday in a nonpartisan race. About 30 primary battles for state legislative seats will be settled — including a race in Nye County where incumbent Assembly member James Oscarson of Pahrump is being challenged by brothel owner Dennis Hof.

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.