Politics Now co-host Steve Sebelius on Nevada election results


Tuesday’s midterm election is in the books, a Democratic wave that swept the Nevada Legislature, almost all the constitutional offices and the governor’s mansion.

Record turnout left Nevada with long lines and no results until hours after the polls closed at 7 p.m. 

Politics Now co-host Steve Sebelius has three takeaways from the busiest midterm election the Silver State has seen.

Tuesday’s election was definitely one for the history books.

From electing the first female-majority congressional delegation to the unseating of a nearly 30-year incumbent, there’s plenty to keep Nevada political junkies interested in Tuesday’s results.

Let’s start with turnout. A grand total of 969,000 Nevada voters turned out to vote, either early or on election day. That works out to 62 percent of the 1.5 million active registered voters.

That’s pretty good: It exceeds the midterm turnout in any previous election, and beats the old 2010 record by nearly 250,000. 

But consider this: Nearly 600,000 active registered voters didn’t bother to turn out and cast a ballot, even though it was easier than ever to do so. That works out to nearly 38 percent of Nevada’s electorate. We can definitely do better. 

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak made some history. He’s the first commissioner in two decades to get elected to higher office from the local government.

Former Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt was the last commissioner elected to a statewide post. In fact, more former commissioners have gone to prison than have graduated to higher office.

Second, Sisolak is the first Democratic governor since Bob Miller left office in early 1999.

Third, he’s the first southerner to hold the office since former Governor Kenny Guinn, who left office in early 2007. Not that we care about sectional divisions in Nevada anymore. As Sisolak himself said finally, this election witnessed the greatest two-year turnaround in Nevada ballot history.

Question 3, the controversial energy choice ballot initiative, passed in 2016 with 72 percent of the vote, thanks largely to the fact that nobody opposed it that year.

But this year, with a coalition of community groups led by NV Energy spending millions to knock it down, Question 3 was defeated by 67 percent to 33 percent, a huge swing in the space of just two years unprecedented in the history of initiatives.

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