- Associated Press - Monday, June 13, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Voters in Tuesday’s Nevada primary will bring focus to a high-stakes U.S. Senate battle, narrow the field in four House races, and settle some contests for the state Legislature.

Nevadans already weighed in on the presidential race during separate caucuses in February, and now zero in on other offices.

Here’s a look at some of the races and issues:

HEATED HOUSE RACES

Two feisty congressional races have eclipsed the other action on the primary ballot.

A large field of Democrats is vying for a chance to reclaim Nevada’s Democratic-leaning 4th Congressional District from freshman Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy. Front-runners state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and philanthropist Susie Lee all have raised more than $900,000 this cycle and are running frequent TV commercials.

Incumbent Hardy hasn’t attracted any formidable primary challengers in the district that includes North Las Vegas and large swaths of rural, central Nevada.

Meanwhile, attack ads are flying in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District seat, which is open as three-term Republican Rep. Joe Heck runs for retiring U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s seat.

Candidates include top-ranking state Sen. Michael Roberson and businessman Danny Tarkanian, who’s made five unsuccessful bids for office and is pounding Roberson’s support of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 2015 tax package. Roberson is seizing on a Tarkanian bankruptcy and financial problems with past businesses, and is getting a boost from a dark money group that’s spending $1.6 million to help him and oppose his rivals.

Other candidates who haven’t raised as much money as Roberson and Tarkanian include Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who’s known for her love of guns and support of rancher Cliven Bundy.

In the more subdued Democratic primary, Reid-endorsed synagogue leader Jacky Rosen and attorney Jesse Sbaih lead the pack in southern Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes the Summerlin area of Las Vegas and Henderson.

PREDICTABLE HOUSE RACES

No fellow Republicans are challenging Rep. Mark Amodei in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes much of northern Nevada. Radio host Chip Evans is the only Democratic candidate to report any fundraising. He would face an uphill battle against Amodei in a district that has always elected a Republican.

Democratic incumbent Rep. Dina Titus’ two primary opponents haven’t reported raising any money. A handful of Republicans and minor party candidates are running in the 1st Congressional District, but aren’t expected to perform well in November in the Las Vegas district that has a 2-to-1 Democratic registration advantage.

SLOW SENATE RACE

The race for Reid’s seat will help decide which party keeps the majority in the U.S. Senate. But the competition hasn’t heated up yet. Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is expected to coast to a win for the Democratic nomination, while GOP Rep. Joe Heck should shake off primary challengers, including tea party darling Sharron Angle.

TAXES LOOM OVER LEGISLATURE

Republicans hope to keep their majorities in the Assembly and Senate, but that might depend on who emerges from the primaries. Many incumbent Republicans who supported Sandoval’s tax plan face tough challenges from anti-tax candidates.

No challengers filed for several seats. In others, only candidates from one party have filed, meaning the winner of the primary will be the only candidate on the November ballot and automatically wins.

CLOSED PRIMARY

Nevada is a closed-primary state, meaning voters registered as a Democrat or Republican can only vote for candidates registered to that party.

All voters can weigh in on nonpartisan races, which include judge, regent and county commissioner races.

EARLY VOTING AND ELECTION DAY

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m., but more than 143,000 voters statewide have already weighed in.

Early voting ran May 28 through June 10, with polling sites open in grocery stores, community centers and shopping malls.

Voters could also submit absentee ballots by mail or at voting sites.

In populous Clark County, more people tend to vote early or by mail than on Election Day.


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