Republicans score virtual sweep of Nevada
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Republicans scored a virtual sweep of Nevada on Tuesday, re-electing Gov. Kenny Guinn in a landslide, claiming a newly created congressional seat and all five other top statewide offices.
"It's been a great day for all our candidates," Guinn told supporters Tuesday night after cruising to victory with 68 percent of the vote.
The conservative trend also showed on two high profile ballot measures as Nevadans voted to amend their state constitution to ban gay marriages and snuffed out a proposal to legalize possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana.
Rep. Shelley Berkley was the only major Democratic candidate to win Tuesday night. She had 54 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Republican Las Vegas councilwoman Lynette Boggs McDonald in the 1st Congressional District with 77 percent of the precincts reporting.
Republican Jon Porter, a former state senator, defeated Democrat Dario Herrera in the newly created 3rd District that both national parties targeted as a priority. He was winning by a margin of 57 percent to 37 percent with 57 percent of the vote tabulated.
Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who is the only member of Congress to serve in both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars, was elected to a fourth term in Nevada's 2nd District. He was leading 74 percent to Democrat Travis Souza's 20 percent with 85 percent of precincts reporting.
Guinn, 66, was declared the winner early over Democrat Joe Neal. By the time three-fourth of the votes were counted, Guinn led with 68 percent to Neal's 22 percent.
He outspent Neal by a 100-to-1 margin during the campaign - $2 million to $20,000. In addition to the backing of the casino industry, he won endorsements from a pair of traditionally Democratic constituencies, the Nevada AFL-CIO and the state teacher's union.
"The reputation in the past has been that only Democrats care about people and that's just not the case," Guinn said Tuesday night.
"I ran last time and ran this time to help people - those who are less fortunate, the aging and disabled. That is part of our responsibility and I think we can do that as Republicans," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Las Vegas after he was declared the winner.
"We set forth some pretty aggressive programs in education and for seniors over the last 3 1/2 years. We reduced the size of government even though we are the fastest growing state in the nation. I think people like what we have been able to do."
Neal, a 30-year veteran of the state Legislature who became the first black gubernatorial candidate to win a major party's nomination in Nevada, angered casinos with his call for dramatically higher taxes on the industry and was snubbed by his own party leaders.
Republican Brian Sandoval defeated Democrat John Hunt in a combative race for attorney general, claiming 58 percent of the vote to Hunt's 34 percent with three-fourths of the votes counted.
Secretary of State Dean Heller was part of the Republican sweep, winning re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, Treasurer Brian Krolicki and Controller Kathy Augustine were the other Republican state executives who easily won re-election Tuesday night.
Nevada statutes already forbid gay marriages but statewide ballot Question 2 amends the Nevada Constitution to make clear that nontraditional marriages performed in other states wouldn't be recognized in Nevada. It was passing by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent with about half the ballots counted.
The highest-profile ballot question in the state, No. 9, would have legalized possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana for personal use. But it was trailing 61 percent to 39 percent.
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