CARSON CITY — With the presidential caucuses now a distant memory, Nevadans can get back to what really matters: Local politics and the races that will determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the Legislature in 2017.
Republicans hold a razor-thin one-vote majority in the 21-member Senate. With as many as four of 11 races potentially in play, a single shift on Election Day in November could put the Democrats back in the driver’s seat.
Republicans need to hold on to two open GOP seats to maintain their majority.
Republicans also hold a 25-17 edge in the Assembly, part of an unprecedented Republican sweep in the 2014 general election that gave the GOP a clear majority for the first time in 30 years. It also gave Republicans control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office for the first time since 1929.
But nine of the GOP-held Assembly seats have Democratic voter registration edges and three are almost certain to be lost on Nov. 8.
UNR political science professor Eric Herzik said the numbers appear to favor the Democrats to regain control of the Assembly. A number of factors that came together in 2014 to produce the GOP sweep don’t exist in this election cycle, he said.
“In a presidential year you will have better turnout,” Herzik said. “Labor and Latinos appear to be very active, even at this early stage of the process.”
Given the amount of anti-labor legislation that passed in the 2015 session with Republicans in control, and the rhetoric coming from Republican presidential candidates, these critical Democratic demographic groups will likely show up on Election Day, he said.
“The numbers just don’t stack up well for the Republicans,” Herzik said. “And that’s before they go through what will likely be some very ugly primaries.”
The primary is June 14.