Nevada voters prepare for upcoming primary election

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) June 12, voters will be casting their ballots in the 2018 primary election. And here in Nevada, there will be plenty of names to choose from.

At TMCC, I asked political science professor Fred Lokken why so many candidates are on the ballot, when they know they have no chance to win.

“That’s one of the great questions. People are peculiar. They may be angry about something, and they see this as a platform, but It's hard to be a platform if you don’t have the money to get your story out there.”

In March, President Trump asked Danny Tarkanian to drop out of the race for the US Senate seat held by Dean Heller, and instead run for the 3rd congressional district seat held by Jacky Rosen, who is running for Senate. Lokken says that paved the way for a different race to be the one that gets the most attention.

“The Governor’s race on the Democratic side became the race of the state primary,” he said.

With Attorney General Adam Laxalt being the overwhelming favorite on the Republican side, the Democratic frontrunners are Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani.

“You couldn’t script these things,” Lokken says. “They both serve on the Clark County Commission. Chris is the more conventional candidate, having served in the Legislature, whereas Sisolak served on the Board of Regents. So you have two qualified candidates; both have been able to raise millions of dollars.”

One thing that is clear is that whomever takes over as governor come November will have big shoes to fill.

Lokken says, “I think Brian Sandoval reminds us that term limits are not always a great idea. Sandoval has done a remarkable job. He’s been a governor that has worked for all Nevadans, and has worked with the Democratic Party even though he is a Republican.”

Turnout for the last primary election in Nevada was only 18%, and Lokken says once again, most voters won’t know a ton about a lot of the candidates.

“In this election you have judges on the ballot. And members on the school board. Judges are supposed to be impartial. And as for the school board, they are all good-hearted souls but they have no money behind their campaigns, and they are just names on the ballot; who do you vote for?”