Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 | 3:27 p.m.
As early voting begins Saturday and gives us an idea of just how low the turnout will be in that House special election to fill the seat once held by Sen. Dean Heller, some numbers to know:
----The Republicans have a 43 percent to 35 percent registration edge -- it's almost 31,000 voters.
----One-fifth of the district is not registered with either party.
----Here's how the district breaks down: 54 percent of registered voters live in Washoe County, 38 percent live in rural Nevada and the rest reside in Clark County.
----If turnout is 25 percent, that means about 100,000 voters will turn out. Add or subtract 20,000 voters for every 5 percentage points.
So what should we look for?
There are three trends that will be key to determining if this race between Kate Marshall, the Democratic underdog, and Mark Amodei, the GOP favorite, might be close.
1. If the turnout is very low, that could skew the results in a district no Democrat has won since it was created in 1981.
2. If the turnout is unusually low in rural Nevada, where Marshall should get crushed, she will have reason for hope.
3. There are 33,000 voters in Clark County, 13,000 of who are Democrats. If the turnout is very high among those folks, Amodei might worry a little. A little.
We should know by the end of the first week how these trends are developing -- or not.