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Nevada Races

House Outlook for 2008

Will the GOP Swing the Pendulum Back?

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Nevada (02)

Outlook: Leans Republican

June 11, 2008 Update:

Just when things had starting looking bleak for Republican Rep. Dean Heller, he stumbled upon an oasis. His main primary opponent, Sharron Angle, dropped out, representing a growing acceptance of Heller by all manner of Silver State Republicans. The Club for Growth, a conservative mainstay in GOP primaries which supported Angle in 2006, says they were ”pleasantly surprised by Heller’s record,” a clear endorsement which should signal the final word of the Nevada right.

On the general election front, Heller will again face 2006 Democratic nominee Jill Derby in November. Heller prevailed by 5% last time around in a race that was roughly equally well-funded on both sides. This cycle, the money stock isn’t as equitably distributed and Heller owns a cash-on-hand advantage of $800,000 to $130,000. Unless something changes, this pick-up opportunity for Democrats will quickly evaporate under the hot desert sun.


Although he remains a very strong favorite for reelection, Representative Dean Heller has to be feeling a bit more nervous after the last few weeks. Until February, Heller lacked any opponent whatsoever, but recently, formidable challengers have emerged on either side of the Nevada Congressman. To Heller’s right is anti-tax advocate and former assemblywoman Sharron Angle who fell 421 votes short of the Republican nomination in the 2006 open seat contest. Angle has not formally announced, and may well pass on the race, but Heller certainly would like to avoid another bruising primary.

Provided the Congressman navigates the primary, 2006 candidate Jill Derby once again awaits Heller in the general election. Immediately before her entrance, the incumbent’s campaign released a poll showing Heller up double digits (51-36) over Derby, but the district has grown slightly more Democratic since 2006. In the end, Heller should win, perhaps even comfortably, but he certainly could have done without the developments of the last few weeks.


Jill Derby – Democrat – 2006 Democratic candidate

Dean Heller (I) – Republican – current Congressman

Nevada (03)

Outlook: Leans Democratic

June 12, 2008 Update:

At the end of April, things took an interesting turn in this Southeastern Nevada district. The all-but-certain nominee, prosecutor Robert Daskas, dropped out with just two weeks left until the filing deadline. The DCCC quickly recruited state senate minority leader and 2006 gubernatorial nominee Dina Titus to fill the void. In that 2006 election, Titus lost to now-Gov. Jim Gibbons, but carried the third district she now seeks to represent by 2%, giving Dems hope for her bid this fall.

Republican Rep. Jon Porter will seek to portray Titus as a left-wing liberal, reminding voters that Nevadans rejected her just two years ago. While that critique may be dampened by a recent report that showed she has a more conservative voting record than even the Republican state senate majority leader, Porter also can point out that Titus resides outside the district. Titus, for her part, seems to be concentrating all her fire on Porter’s Congressional voting record, which she claims is in lockstep with President Bush’s agenda. This race is poised to become as hot as the Nevadan desert and as wild as the Las Vegas strip.


It took Nevada Democrats a long time to attract a credible candidate to the race against Representative Jon Porter. The party quickly exhausted its rumored “dream team” of candidates— boxer Oscar de la Hoya and former tennis star Andre Agassi—then one-by-one, top tier challengers passed on the race. After 2006 nominee Tessa Hafen, 06 gubernatorial candidate Dina Titus, and Senator Reid’s son, Rory Reid, declined the challenge, Clark county prosecutor Robert Daskas took the plunge.

Daskas is a green candidate, and at times, it shows. He has no fundraising experience and appears to have a shaky grasp on certain issues. If Daskas is to make a race against an entrenched Porter, he will have to be a quick learner and make sure not to repeat earlier mistakes. For now, though, this suburban swing district leans toward reelecting Porter in November, but in Vegas, it’s hard to find a safe bet.


Dina Titus – Democrat – state senate minority leader and 2006 gubernatorial nominee

Jon Porter, Sr. (I) – Republican – current Congressman