Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 | 1:45 a.m.
Nevada voters on Tuesday elected a Democratic governor for the first time in 20 years.
Steve Sisolak, the Clark County commissioner, was declared the winner against Republican Adam Laxalt with 49.7 percent of the vote as of early this morning. He wasted no time rallying supporters in celebration.
“Nevada, it’s time to deliver and that’s what we’re going to do,” Sisolak said in his victory speech at the Democrats’ election night watch party at Caesars Palace.
Sisolak pointed to issues such as health care and education, saying families should not have to choose between health care and food. He’s the first Democratic governor since Bob Miller in the 1990s.
“We will not be divided by north versus south, rural versus urban, we will be one Nevada working together and that starts right now,” Sisolak said.
Mostly red Northern Nevada was expected to tilt Laxalt’s way on Election Day, while blue Clark County — with a majority of voters in the state — would likely lean toward Sisolak. Washoe County, the state’s second largest county and in Laxalt’s backyard, also supported Sisolak.
Laxalt conceded the election, calling it was a grueling campaign where the GOP came up short.
“This was our campaign, not just my campaign,” he said. “People can take heart we left it all on the field.”
Sisolak said he will work to earn support from those who didn’t vote for him, similar to what he said after winning his Democratic primary. He pointed to hate crimes across the country and other acts of violence.
“America, we are better than this,” Sisolak said, calling for unity. “… We will be one Nevada, working together and that starts right now.”
Early voting turnout in Nevada was well over 2014 levels, similar to what was seen in the presidential election in 2016. An uptick in enthusiasm for the election has been nationwide, with 38 million voting early either in person or by mail this year compared to 27 million in 2014.
Term-limited Gov. Brian Sandoval did not endorse a candidate in the race. His administration helped usher in the bipartisan Commerce Tax to help fund education, and Laxalt has campaign on reversing the policy.
Sandoval vetoed 41 bills passed by the Democratic-controlled 2017 Legislature, second only to Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons, who vetoed 48 out of the 2009 Legislature. Republicans warned voters at a rally on Election Day eve that a Republican governor was needed to be a check on Democrats on the Legislature.
Sisolak will be sworn in next year, and the Legislature will convene shortly after.