Gov. Steve Sisolak is bracing for hurricane-force electoral headwinds stirred up by President Joe Biden’s dismal approval rating, painful gas prices and galloping inflation.
And early election results in Clark County, Nevada’s most populous, point to the first-term governor soon grappling with one of state’s toughest Republican candidates: Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the GOP gubernatorial favorite who recently topped Sisolak in the polls and landed the much-coveted endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump.
As of about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, with 10 percent of precincts reporting in Clark County, Lombardo was leading his opponents with about 48 percent of the vote. His next closest opponent, Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, had about 19 percent of the vote.
“Hopefully you can stick around and we can get some more numbers in,” Lombardo told supporters at his election party near the Strip shortly after Clark County’s initial numbers were posted.
The Reno Gazette Journal will update this story throughout the evening as more election results become available. Check back for updates.
Lombardo kicked off his election night party just as polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Clark County. He is expected to deliver a victory speech at the conclusion of the party.
In the meantime, former one-term Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, who managed the sheriff’s campaign, addressed the crowd about an hour after polls closed.
“We’ve got a candidate like none other,” Hutchison said. “We’ve got a campaign like none other, and we are going to finally — after some very, very long, bitter years — take back Nevada.”
The room erupted with applause.
Perhaps sensing the danger, Sisolak in February dropped the state’s mask mandate in February and kicked into campaign mode — repeatedly touting his successes in steering Nevada’s post-virus economic rebound while promising cash to ease a crippling affordable housing crisis.
The 68-year-old incumbent will have plenty of time and money to spread those messages around ahead of November’s election.
While Sisolak does not face a serious primary election challenge in June, and he is sitting on a record-smashing $9.5 million campaign war chest, a big question remains: Will it be enough to overcome Republicans who say he abused his powers to shut down schools and businesses at the height of the pandemic?
James DeHaven is the politics reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal. He covers campaigns, the Nevada Legislature and everything in between. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.
Rio Lacanlale is the Las Vegas correspondent for the Reno Gazette Journal and the USA Today Network. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @riolacanlale. Support local journalism by subscribing to the RGJ today.
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