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2022 midterm election: Nevada Republicans are fairing differently in statewide races, but why?

Adam Laxalt and Joe Lombardo
Posted at 9:31 PM, Nov 11, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Republican Governor-elect Joe Lombardo was able to celebrate a victory over incumbent Democrat Steve Sisolak Friday evening after his race was called.

At the same time, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was gaining on her Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt, in another statewide race.

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UNLV Associate Professor of History Michael Green said that was an indication voters split their ballots and voted for candidates from different parties depending on the race and candidates within them.

"I think it hurt Sisolak, frankly, to be the governor during COVID," Green said of Sisolak's chances heading into the race.

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Green said Lombardo's path to victory ran through the middle ground as he appealed to independents who'd been alienated by Democrat leadership.

"Lombardo comes across as a Republican, but not necessarily too far to the right," he said, "and he is probably going to rely heavily on his political advisers as he gets the lay of the land."

As Lombardo soared to a clear victory, Laxalt's lead of thousands of votes dwindled to less than a thousand with tens of thousands of Democrat-leaning ballots left to be tabulated over the weekend.

Green said it's hard to pinpoint one reason voters may have avoided Laxalt for Senate while embracing a different Republican for governor.

"Voting is so individual," he said. "I think we make a mistake when we say, 'oh, it's this. It's the one thing.'"

Green said Lombardo had an advantage in blue-leaning Clark County over Laxalt as someone born and raised in Southern Nevada, and independent voters may have been driven from Laxalt to Masto by his 2020 claims of election fraud and close ties to Donald Trump.

"Frankly, the fact that Adam Laxalt was more closely tied to Donald Trump than Joe Lombardo was, that may have hurt Laxalt," he said.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said the majority of mail ballot counting would be complete by Saturday evening, with the ballot curing process running through 5 p.m. Monday.