Five State Senate Races that Could Change the Balance of Power
(LAS VEGAS CBS KXNT) Nevada’s primary election results will set the table for key November races that could shift control of the state senate from Democrats to Republicans.
Democrats have enjoyed a one-seat majority in a body of 21. They now hold 10 out of 19 seats, with two empty following after resignations earlier this year of Republican Elizabeth Halseth and Democrat Sheila Leslie.
Halseth resigned to leave the state after a high-profile marital break-up. Leslie resigned a seat in a safe district to move a few miles away and challenge incumbent Republican Greg Brower. Leslie and Brower are fighting for the seat once held by Republican legislative icon Bill Raggio. Both are uncontested in Tuesday’s primary.
Results from four other closely-watched senate races in Clark County districts will offer a clearer picture of the November landscape. The analysis below is from Republican sources, who have named Democrats they believe are likely to become general election contenders.
In the most fortunate circumstances, Republicans believe they might end up with a 12-9 majority in November. If none of their strongest canididates prevail in Tuesday’s primary, or none are able to win in the fall, the one-seat Democratic advantage could stand.
In Clark Senate District 5, Henderson City Councilman Steve Kirk and Dr. Anette Teirjeiro, both Republicans, want the seat currently held by Democrat Shirley Breeden, who is not seeking reelection. Republican insiders have said Kirk is better known and better funded, but Teirjeiro is a hard retail campaigner. KXNT sources declined to pick a favorite, but believe the winner is likekly to face educator and former Democratic lawmaker Joyce Woodhouse.
Republican attorney Mark Hutchison, who represented Nevada in the court challenge to federal health care reform, is running for the District 6 seat held currently by Democrat Allison Copening. Hutchison has no primary, but Republicans say they hope he can make a strong showing against well-connected Democrat Benny Yerushalmi, a businessman they say would be a formidable general election challenger.
For the District 18 senate seat, two incumbent Republican assemblymen are duking it out. Scott Hammond or Richard McArthur will face Democrat Kelli Ross, wife of Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross Republicans believe.
Republicans told KXNT two Republicans, political campaign veteran Mary Nakashima St. Martin and businessman Brent Jones are in a bruising fight to run for Halseth’s District 9 seat. Our sources believe the winner must be able to beat Democrat Justin Jones, an attorney.