8 News NOW Las Vegas / YouTube Early voting numbers continue to impress 1541243430.jpg...
8 News NOW Las Vegas / YouTube

I have been closely following the early vote in Nevada these past two weeks.  I make sure my twitter app is open starting around 7:30 pm to get the Washoe county (Reno) early vote total from Nevada politics guru, Jon Ralston @RalstonReports.  Then repeat at 10 pm for Clark totals.

Today is the last day of early in person voting, and typically Democrats biggest turnout day.  For Democrats to win statewide races, they need to keep it close with Republicans in Washoe (R+2), the state’s second most populated county, and then run up the score as much as possible in Clark.  Ralston talks about the southern firewall, the amount of votes Democrats need to bank in early voting to offset the expected R>D turnout on Election Day.  If the firewall is big enough, Democrats win statewide and Las Vegas based congressional and state legislative races, like in 2016 when Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen were elected respectively, to the U.S. Senate and House, and Hillary Clinton won the states Electoral College votes.  In 2014, Democrats ran even with Republicans in early voting in Clark and Democrats got wiped out.

This year, there have been some unusual happenings.  First off, Democrats have won all but two days of early voting in Washoe, including a big first day.  As of this morning, they have a 700 vote lead.  Second, Republicans have been getting big turnout in rural counties with with huge republican margins.  This has cut into the statewide margins that democrats usually build with their Clark firewall.  But the firewall looked good and there was a good chance to get to 40,000 after today’s votes came in.  Enough to give democrats an edge and make republicans nervous.

Jon Ralston’s take at 4 pm today from his early voting blog post at the nevadaindependent.com

This early voting fortnight has been so fascinating to watch and is unlike any I have covered. There has not been any obvious pattern, the Washoe numbers are striking and the rural margins are eye-opening.

What is most clear is that this is not 2014, the Democratic disaster because of a red wave that washed away the party’s bench. But the two huge upsets — Ross Miller losing for AG and Steven Horsford for Congress — were still nail-biters despite the overwhelming wave. The Reid Machine, still overseen by Reidites and some talented young folks, has been gassed up this cycle, probably achieving a 10 percent-plus ballot lead for the Dems in the South., where two-thirds of the votes will come.

On the other side this cycle, there has been imitation and the sincerest form of flattery: The Republicans are very cleverly running a rural-focused turnout program, complete with a ton of absentee ballots, a copycat of the Democrats’ efforts every two years to bank votes in their stronghold before Election Day. Of course, Republicans can never compete with the volume in Clark County, but by ensuring the rurals would give them a huge lead in early and mail voting, the GOP has stayed in the game. And while the margin in Clark will be very large for a midterm, it has not gotten so big that the game is over before Election Day, as it has been in the last three presidentials.

Then reports of good things started to appear on social media.  Reports of huge turnout in democratic precincts in Clark county. (Note: Amounts listed below are total votes, not firewall amounts.)

From a reporter with the Las Vegas Review Journal:

If Democrats add 11,000 votes to their southern firewall, that very well may ensure that Steve Sisolak is the next Governor and Jacky Rosen is the new U.S. Senator for Nevada.

The massive turnout in Clark today will also impact the two Vegas area congressional races.  From Jon Ralston earlier today:

CD3 (Danny Tarkanian vs. Susie Lee): Dems +2,900 (1.7 percent), Dems gained significantly. Not quite Lean D yet, but getting there.

CD4 (Steven Horsford vs. Cresent Hardy): Dems +14,000 (12 percent) in the Clark part, which is more than 80 percent of the district. Hardy needs a rural miracle.

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