Sizing Up the 2012 Nevada Political Season - 8 News NOW

Nevada Campaign 2012

Sizing Up the 2012 Nevada Political Season

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This year's contest between President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent for the White House headlines Election 2012 but Nevadans will be asked to settle numerous other crucial races in November.

Statewide attention will be focused on the effort by Republican Sen. Dean Heller to retain his seat against Rep. Shelley Berkley, a veteran Democrat. Their battle for a six-year term will have national ramifications because of the slim majority the Democrats hold in the Senate.

This will also be the first year that Nevada will have four House races, each for two-year terms. In the heavily Democratic 1st Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Berkley, the race is shaping up as a battle between Democrats Dina Titus, a former congresswoman and state Senate minority leader, and state Sen. Ruben Kihuen. Possible Republican challengers include former naval officer Chris Edwards and elementary school principal Miguel Rodrigues.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei will attempt to hold on to the 2nd Congressional District seat, though he may face a Republican primary challenge from failed 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle.

Another Republican, Rep. Joe Heck, is looking to retain his position in the 3rd Congressional District but could face a stiff challenge from Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, a Democrat. Another Democrat linked to that race is businessman James Haning II.

The newly created 4th Congressional District is shaping up as a contest between state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, a Democrat, and Republican state Sen. Barbara Cegavske.

Voters in Clark County will choose winners in nine state senate contests and 31 Assembly races. Democrats hold advantages of 11-10 in the state Senate and 26-16 in the Assembly, meaning they would have to pick up three seats in the Senate and two in the Assembly to have veto-proof majorities in any battles with Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval. Conversely, Republicans need to gain only one Senate seat to take control of the Nevada Legislature's upper chamber.

Four seats apiece on the Clark County Commission and Clark County School District Board will be up for grabs, as will a two-year unexpired term for district attorney. Voters will also have a say in three races each for Nevada's Board of Regents and State Board of Education.

Nevada Supreme Court Justices Michael Cherry, Michael Douglas and Nancy Saitta are running unopposed for new six-year terms. But county voters will choose between incumbent District Court Judge Carolyn Ellsworth and challenger Phung Jefferson in Department 5 and will decide among incumbent District Court Judge Jerry Tao and opponents John Eccles and Chris Rasmussen in Department 20. Both of those contests are for two-year unexpired terms.

Attention remains focused on Feb.4, when Nevada's Republicans will hold statewide presidential caucuses. Nevada will be the first western state to weigh in on the Republican choice to face Obama in November.

Here's a look at other important dates on Nevada's election calendar:

March 5 -- First day for candidate filing in non-judicial races.

March 16 -- Last day for candidate filing in non-judicial races.

March 27 -- Last day for non-judicial candidates to withdraw.

May 12 -- Last day to register to vote by mail for primary election.

May 22 -- Last day to register to vote in person for primary election.

May 26 -- Early voting for the primary election begins.

June 5 -- Last day a person can request in writing absent voter ballot for primary election.

June 8 -- Last day of early voting for primary election.

June 12 -- Primary election.

June 19 -- Last day to submit petition to the county clerk or registrar of voters for a state referendum or to amend the state constitution.

June 29 -- Last day to file a county referendum petition with the county clerk for signature verification.

Aug. 10 -- Last day for independent candidates to file for presidential race.

Sept. 4 -- Last day for minor party candidates to file for presidential race.

Oct. 7 -- Last day to register to vote by mail for general election.

Oct. 16 -- Last day to register to vote in person for general election.

Oct. 20 -- Early voting for general election begins.

Oct. 30 -- Last day a person can request in writing an absent voter ballot for the general election.

Nov. 2 -- Last day of early voting for general election.

Nov. 6 -- General election.

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