- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The battle lines are drawn for the November election to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., after Tuesday’s party primaries that included a pair of hotly contested congressional races and a split decision for anti-tax crusaders who targeted Republican backers of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tax package and education initiatives.

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

REID’S REPLACEMENT:

Three-term Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck defeated a slate of Senate primary candidates, including tea party darling Sharron Angle, to win the GOP nomination. He’ll face off in the race for Reid’s Senate seat against Democratic former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who easily defeated a handful of little-known candidates.

It’s expected to be one of the country’s most important Senate contests because it could determine which party clinches the majority. Outside groups have already started reserving millions of dollars in airtime to run commercials into the fall.

KEY HOUSE RACES:

Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen defeated former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and philanthropist Susie Lee to win the nomination for a chance to unseat freshman U.S. Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy, who cruised to victory in the Democrat-leaning 4th District that includes North Las Vegas and swaths of rural central Nevada.

Flores, who lost a bid for lieutenant governor four years ago, enjoyed fundraising support from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. But Kihuen had backing from Reid, President Bill Clinton and the hospitality workers of the Culinary Union.

In the 3rd District race for Heck’s open seat, businessman Danny Tarkanian won the GOP primary that included the more moderate state Sen. Michael Roberson and Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a feisty conservative who is known for her love of guns. The son of the late UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian will face Democrat Jacky Rosen, a synagogue leader endorsed by Reid who beat attorney Jesse Sbaih in the southern Nevada district which is split nearly evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

OTHER HOUSE RACES:

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei didn’t have any primary opponents in his northern Nevada district and will meet Reno radio host Chip Murray, who will face an uphill battle in his bid to become the first Democrat ever to win the 2nd District seat.

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus scored an easy win in her heavily Democratic Las Vegas district. A Republican primary in that 1st Congressional District remained too close to call early Wednesday.

LEGISLATIVE TAX TARGETS:

Republican critics of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tax and education package knocked off four of the popular GOP governor’s allies in key legislative primaries, but seven other incumbents targeted for defeat survived.

Two key Republican assemblymen who helped usher the initiatives through last year’s legislature, Speaker John Hambrick and Majority Leader Paul Anderson, were among the incumbents who won their primary battles in Clark County.

Anti-tax crusaders scored perhaps their biggest victory in a key state Senate primary between two former assembly members in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas, where Victoria Seaman defeated Erv Nelson. In a Reno-area race for an open Assembly seat, anti-tax activist Lisa Krasner beat Jason Guinasso, a more moderate Republican attorney who backs Sandoval’s policies.

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AP Writers Ken Ritter and Sally Ho also contributed to this report from Las Vegas; Sonner reported from Reno.


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