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January 19, 2018

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Voters cite economy, state’s future in choosing candidates


Justin M. Bowen

Jeff Dougherty votes during Election Day at the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson Tuesday, November 2, 2010.

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 | 5:50 p.m.

Sun politics editor discusses Election Day

Las Vegas Sun political editor Michael Squires discuss today's election on KSNV's 4 p.m. newscast.

Voting in West Las Vegas

Helen Washington votes during Election Day at the West Las Vegas Library in Las Vegas Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Voting in Henderson

A voter displays her I Voted sticker on her pregnant belly outside of her polling station in Henderson Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Harry Reid on Election Day

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to volunteers during a stop at his campaign headquarters in Summerlin Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Outside Angle headquarters

A volunteer loads campaign signs into a vehicle at the West Sahara Avenue campaign headquarters of Republican challenger Sharron Angle on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. The signs will be used for the election night party at the Venetian, he said. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Republican Sharron Angle casts her ballot Tuesday morning in Reno.

2010 General Election

Zip Code
Party Affilliation
Democrat — 60.9%
Republican — 19.1%
Independent — 15.2%
Other — 2.3%
Tea Party of Nevada — 0.8%
Green — 0.7%
Libertarian — 0.7%
Independent American Party — 0.3%
Who are you voting for in the U.S. Senate race?
Harry Reid — 70.7%
Sharron Angle — 26.9%
Scott Ashjian — 1.1%
Wil Stand — 0.5%
Tim Fasano — 0.3%
Jesse Holland — 0.3%
Jeffrey C. Reeves — 0.3%
Michael L. Haines — 0%
Who are you voting for in the Nevada gubernatorial race?
Rory Reid — 61.6%
Brian Sandoval — 32.3%
David Scott Curtis — 2.9%
Eugene "Gino" Disimone — 1.1%
Aaron Y. Honig — 0.8%
Floyd Fitzgibbons — 0.7%
Arthur Forest Lampitt Jr. — 0.6%
Who are you voting for in the U.S. House District 3 race?
Dina Titus — 66.2%
Joe Heck — 29.4%
Barry Michaels — 2.1%
Joseph P. Silvestri — 1.9%
Scott David Narter — 0.5%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Months of campaigning was winding down today as Nevadans went the polls to decide a hotly contested U.S. Senate race, pick a new governor, decide three House races and choose the makeup of a 2011 Legislature.

Election officials said 99,812 voters had cast a ballot in Clark County today through 3 p.m.

Larry Lomax, Clark County registrar of voters, had initially expected about 190,000 people to cast ballots today in Clark County, but said the actual number likely would fall short of his prediction. That number would have matched a 26 percent turnout from the last two Election Days, not including early votes.

"Just based on what I'm seeing out here today, I have a feeling that's going to be high," Lomax said this morning of his prediction.

County and state election officials said there were no major problems with voting today.

"Things are going very well as far as I know. All the polling places opened on time," Lomax said. "Some of the minor little issues that always pop up during elections -- nothing that would have affected the voting."

Secretary of State Ross Miller said there were minor delays at a few polling sites, but the election was "running smooth."

Economy 'going to take time to turn around'

Independent voter Ruben Ramos, 42, cast his vote Tuesday morning at Green Valley Baptist Church in Henderson. He said he voted for Harry Reid because of his track record in helping Nevada.

“He’s been helping, he’s just having a hard time right now,” Ramos said. “He’s been doing all right.”

Ramos, a construction worker who has been through three bouts of unemployment since the recession struck, said despite his personal hardships he felt confident in Nevada’s future.

“I think it’s probably just going to take time to turn around,” he said.

Sharon Danko, who also voted at Green Valley Baptist Church, said she voted for Sharron Angle “because we need a change.” But Danko, a Republican, said she voted for incumbent U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus, a Democrat.

What influenced her vote, she said, were “the things I’ve heard about what Joe Heck won’t vote for, medical and otherwise.”

Henderson voter Charles Kern said he voted mostly Republican down the ticket, including Angle for Senate.

“We just need to get rid of Harry Reid,” Kern said. Kern said he is concerned about the state’s future.

“I’m absolutely worried about the future of Nevada, especially with how the economy is right now and the way Democrats have been spending,” Kern said.

Differing messages for incumbent

Mary Turner, a registered Democrat who works at UNLV, cast her vote this morning at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church in Henderson. In the major races, she voted for Democrats, saying Harry Reid “has been good for Nevada” and she felt more confident in Rory Reid than she did in Brian Sandoval.

As the recession has walloped Nevada, education funding has taken major hits. Turner, 54, voiced frustration with how Gov. Jim Gibbons, who lost to Sandoval in the primary, has overseen the state’s budget, especially in regard to education. However, blaming one party or the other for the state’s and country’s economic woes would be “oversimplifying,” she said.

“I know it’s really bad right now, but I know we’ll pull out of it,” she said.

Also outside Christ the Servant, Diane and Glenn Chaves both said they voted for Angle in the U.S. Senate race.

Glenn Chaves, 67, said he has voted for Harry Reid in the past. Not this election.

“He has lost touch with his responsibility to the constitution and to Nevada,” he said. “He’s just in a Democratic fog.”

Angle, he said, is a new voice. “I’m just sick and tired of Harry Reid,” he said.

His wife, Diane, echoed his sentiment.

“He is ineffective and self-serving," she said. "This state used to be a big mining state and he hasn’t done anything for mining in years.”

The Chaveses both voted for Sandoval for governor and Heck for the U.S. House District 3 seat.

“Rory Reid is Harry Reid’s son and the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Glenn Chaves said. He added that he felt Dina Titus got “swamped” in the Democratic agenda when she went to Washington and criticized her votes for the stimulus and health care bills.

Social issues bring out votes

Ernie Freggiaro, who voted at Bridge at Paradise Valley assisted living center on Harmon Avenue this morning, is a registered Republican and voted for Angle and Sandoval.

But Freggiaro stopped short of voting for all GOP candidates when he cast his ballot for Titus, his neighbor for 20 years.

"This is the first time I've voted for her," he said. "She has done a great job as congresswoman."

William Snyder, on the other hand, voted a clean sweep for Democrats on his ballot — mainly for social reasons.

Snyder said because he is gay, he voted for candidates most likely to support LGBT issues, especially the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He said his boyfriend, who was in the military for seven years, could have benefited by being open about his sexuality.

"That's what I'm afraid of — all the advances in 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and the Republicans coming in and screwing that up," said Snyder, who identifies as an independent.

Other voters were more blunt about their views of certain politicians.

"Sharron Angle scares me," said Alexander Brooks. "I don't like the idea of having people I honestly consider to be insane in our government."

Brooks, who works at UNLV, said he fears his job could be in jeopardy if Republicans win elections in Nevada and cut education funding.

Plenty of blame to go around

At Coronado High School, Thomas Bulger was pushing his brother, Richard Bulger, who was in a wheelchair, outside the polling place shortly after 8 a.m.

Both retirees, the two Democrats had each just cast ballots hoping to re-elect Harry Reid to the Senate. The reason?

"What George W. Bush did to this country," Richard Bulger said. "He ruined the country. The one thing I'm afraid of is Angle gets elected."

Thomas Bulger said he agreed with his brother about Bush.

"I hope our grandchildren will be able to afford to get us out of debt," he said.

Click to enlarge photo

Henderson residents stand in line to cast their vote during Election Day at the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson Tuesday, November 2, 2010.

The brothers also said they each voted for Democrats Rory Reid for governor and Dina Titus for Congress.

"I wanted Democrats across the board. I don't understand how any working man could be voting for Republicans after what they've done to the country," Thomas Bulger said.

Thomas Mietzner, a Republican, said he was worried about Nevada's future.

"I'm worried we're not diversified enough with the economy," he said. "It's all about the gaming."

Mietzner, who voted for John McCain for president two years ago, said he voted today for Republicans Sharron Angle, Brian Sandoval and Joe Heck, explaining he's a fiscal conservative. He said the ballooning federal deficit encouraged him to vote for Angle.

"We're spending more money than we have," Mietzner said.

Another Republican, Mark Towk, said he holds Democrats responsible for the recession.

"All the foreclosure stuff started with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd," Towk said after voting at Coronado High School in Henderson. "They allowed it so we started giving people half-million-dollar homes when they couldn't afford homes that were $180,000."

Towk said the economy, the federal debt and "Obamacare" led him to vote for Angle.

"For health care, I have to wait four years and there's the possibility of putting me in jail if I don't buy it. Come on!" Towk said.

Towk, who voted for Sandoval for governor, said Rory Reid was running on his father's name recognition.

'Insane' GOP and 'problem' Democrats

The economy and immigration were on the minds of voters at Manuel Cortez Elementary in the northeast valley.

Dave Melvin, a registered Republican, said he voted a straight Republican ticket because he had seen many friends lose their jobs in recent years.

"Where do I start? I don't like Harry Reid," said Melvin, who added he doesn't hold the Senate majority leader responsible for the recession "like the press does," but believes Reid, Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are "part of the problem."

"(The election) is not about Sharron Angle," he added. "It's about taking (Reid) out of power."

Lola Moss, a fellow registered Republican, took the opposite stance: she said she voted against the Republican candidates because she believes they have no plans for the future.

As an elementary school teacher, Moss said she worries about how public education will be funded and voted for Democrats.

"The truth is the Republican candidates -- they're insane," she said. "I kept waiting for one of them to say something practical and logical. It's terrifying."

'All the choices were bad'

At John Bass Elementary School, 10377 Rancho Destino Road, 50-year-old Blake Grantham said he was disappointed in the candidate choices, but voted Republican like he did in 2008.

“All the choices were bad,” Grantham said, shaking his head. “Even ‘none of the above’ was bad.”

The focus wasn’t just on the races capturing national headlines. Just across the street, two young women held signs for Ken Small, who is running for trusteeship of District F of the Clark County School Board.

Even though they are a year shy of being able to vote, Las Vegas High School students Ashley Perez and Myah Sandoval said they wanted to get out the vote on their day off from school.

“Education isn’t how it used to be,” Perez said, referencing an annual Education Week magazine survey that ranked Nevada last in the nation for the quality of its public schools. “We’re not being taught as much as we’re supposed to be.”

“Every vote is important,” Sandoval added, encouraging young voters to turn out today. “Our generation doesn’t realize that people we elect affect us. We should be more informed and aware.”

Early voting: By the numbers

Click to enlarge photo

Poll worker Ernestine Terrell directs voters to their stations during Election Day at the West Las Vegas Library in Las Vegas Tuesday, November 2, 2010.

In early voting turnout, Republicans outperformed Democrats in getting to the polls in Nevada. Final tallies for two weeks of in-person voting and a preliminary count of mail-in ballots for the state's two most populous counties, Clark and Washoe, gave Democrats about a 9,000-voter edge.

The slim margin stands out because Democrats hold a 60,000-voter edge in statewide registration.

Democrats accounted for 162,801 in-person early voters -- or 43 percent of the total -- just over the party's share of registration. But the GOP turned out 156,264 early voters, or 41 percent of the total -- which is 4 percentage points higher than party's registration in the state.

Democrats held a 21,502-to-19,087 edge in mail-in ballots for the state's two largest counties.

Clark County was 68 percent of the early turnout while Washoe County was 18 percent and rural areas were 14 percent. In Clark County, 22,830 more Democrats have turned out than Republicans.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican hopeful Sharron Angle neck-and-neck in the polls, Nevada has been home to one of the nation’s most-watched races. Nevadans also will decide whether Republican Brian Sandoval or Democrat Rory Reid will lead the state through its toughest economic slump in decades, as well as choose who to send to the U.S. House.

The ballot includes a host of statewide, legislative, local and judicial races.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. About 3,500 people will work at the nearly 300 polling places throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Anyone who has not turned in a mail ballot will have until 7 p.m. tonight to turn it into the Election Department Office at the Clark County Government Center, 5000 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, or the Clark County Election Center, 965 Trade Drive, Suite A, North Las Vegas.

Visit tonight for updated election returns and coverage of the races.

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