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January 20, 2019

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Sisolak wins Democratic primary for governor, will face GOP’s Laxalt


Steve Marcus

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak thanks supporters during an election watch party at the Aria Convention Center Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Also pictured on stage from left: his sister Susan Sisolak, girlfriend Kathy Ong, Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev, and his mother Mary.

Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2018 | 1:18 a.m.

Sisolak Wins Democratic Primary for Governor

Veronica and Ron Wasak show their support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak during an election watch party at the Aria convention center Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Launch slideshow »

Voters Head to Polls in Primary Election

A woman and a child leave a election day vote center at the Green Valley Presbyterian Church in Henderson Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Launch slideshow »

Democrats settled a bruising primary for Nevada governor today, nominating Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak to take on the state's Republican attorney general in November.

Sisolak, who had the backing of former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and chairs the powerful council overseeing the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding communities, defeated his commission colleague Chris Giunchigliani.

His general election opponent, state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, handily won the backing of Nevada Republicans.

“It’s going to be a tough fight, but together we can do this,” Sisolak said at a gathering of his supporters at the Aria. He said he spoke to Giunchigliani and they agree that Laxalt cannot be allowed to become governor.

Sisolak won 50 percent of the vote to Giunchigliani's 38.9 percent. Laxalt took 71.5 percent of the vote, besting state Treasurer Dan Schwartz with 9.1 percent.

Both Giunchigliani and Sisolak pledged to stand up to President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association.

Trump endorsed Laxalt, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and son of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico.

In another closely watched race, U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen advanced in the Democratic primary to face GOP incumbent Dean Heller in the general election for U.S. Senate. Rosen won 77.1 percent of the vote, while Heller took 70 percent in the GOP primary.

“I’m proud of my record putting partisan games aside to work across the aisle and find real solutions," Rosen said in a statement.

She accused Heller of "letting Nevadans down by breaking his promises to protect our health care, passing a fiscally irresponsible tax bill to benefit his super-wealthy donors, and failing our Dreamers to placate his party’s leaders.”

Heller, meanwhile, sent a message thanking his supporters and telling them that they will now “go to battle against millions of dollars from liberal outside special interest groups and Hollywood elites that are trying to buy their way into the Nevada U.S. Senate seat.”

“They know that I’m the one person standing in the way of their Trump impeachment strategy, tax cut repeals and reinstatement of Obama-era regulations. They also know that I’m the only candidate who can beat Jacky Rosen and the Democrats.”

In the U.S. House District 3 race, philanthropist Susie Lee was the winner in the Democratic primary, with 66.9 percent of the vote. On the Republican side, Danny Tarkanian won with 44.1 percent of the vote, besting the next closest candidate, Michelle Mortensen, who had 24.6 percent.

Emerging from his office at his campaign headquarters, Tarkanian was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of about 50 supporters, friends and family chanting his name.

“The Democrats have said if they take control of Congress, that they’re going to file impeachment charges against President Trump,” Tarkanian said. “We can make the difference in that. We can also make the difference in whether or not we’re going to control the Senate and whether we’re going to have a Republican in the governor’s office and put an end to all those nasty bills Democrats want.”

He said Lee “believes in everything that we’re trying to change in this country right now. We are going to talk about those issues, and if the people listen and understand, we win.”

In U.S. House District 4, Steven Horsford won the Democratic primary with 61.7 percent of the vote, while the next closest candidate, Pat Spearman, was at 15.3 percent.

On the Republican side, Cresent Hardy won with 47.4 percent of the vote, ahead of David Gibbs with 19 percent.

Horsford thanked his campaign staff and volunteers, his wife, Sonya, and the rest of his family.

“I want to thank my family for always having my back, for allowing me to fulfill my purpose and my calling in serving this community. This is the community I grew up in, and I couldn’t do this without them," Horsford said. "This is how we win, and let’s take this all the way to November.”

Hardy, who beat lesser-known primary challengers Tuesday, defeated Horsford in 2014 then lost in 2016 to Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who announced earlier this year he wouldn't seek re-election amid allegations of sexual misconduct. The swing district stretches from north of Las Vegas through four rural counties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.