Trump to be central in Nevada races for Senate, governor - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Trump to be central in Nevada races for Senate, governor

(AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak speaks at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak speaks at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas.
(Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP). In this Tuesday, June 12, 2018, photo, Republican candidate for Nevada Governor Adam Laxalt greets supporters at The Grove in Reno, Nev. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP). In this Tuesday, June 12, 2018, photo, Republican candidate for Nevada Governor Adam Laxalt greets supporters at The Grove in Reno, Nev.
(AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak reacts as he walks off stage at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak reacts as he walks off stage at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas.
(AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak walks onstage at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak walks onstage at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas.
(AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, right, embraces Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher). Clark County Commission Chair and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, right, embraces Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., at an election night party, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas.

By MICHELLE L. PRICE
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) - President Donald Trump won't be on the ballot in November, but he is shaping up to be at the center of two important campaigns in Nevada as Democrats hope to reclaim the governor's mansion for the first time in 20 years and Republicans work to keep a U.S. Senate seat.

With primary races settled in the battleground state Tuesday, Democrats are betting an anti-Trump backlash will carry them to victory in November and are portraying GOP nominees as boosters of Trump, not Nevada - a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

But Nevada Republicans contend that predictions of a "blue wave" are overblown and enthusiasm among their base is strong. They've cast GOP candidates as a guard against California-style liberalism and the potential impeachment of the president.

"They know that I'm the one person standing in the way of their Trump impeachment strategy, tax cut repeals and reinstatement of Obama-era regulations," Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller said in a campaign email after his primary win Tuesday night.

His campaign has pointed to efforts of California billionaire Tom Steyer, who is running ads in Nevada and around the country pushing to impeach Trump. Steyer, who is scheduled to hold an impeachment town hall in Reno on Wednesday night, has separately pledged to spend $2 million in Nevada to defeat Heller and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the GOP candidate for governor.

Laxalt, who will face Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak, hasn't linked his election to the president but acknowledged in his victory speech Tuesday night that Democrats will make that case.

"They're going to say I'm a puppet for the president. They're already saying that. But Donald Trump did not fail Clark County for decades," he said.

His comments came hours after Trump tweeted his support for Laxalt.

Sisolak, the chairman of a powerful council overseeing the Las Vegas Strip, has repeatedly campaigned on a pledge to stand up to Trump.

The races, which have already started drawing in millions in outside spending, are high stakes battles for both parties.

The governor's race is one of eight targeted in a $20 million effort from the Democratic Governors Association with the hope that governors could improve the party's chances of winning congressional seats. The next governor will have the power to approve or reject Nevada's next congressional maps drawn after the 2020 census -changes that could help set control of Congress for the following decade.

The Senate seat held by Heller is the only one in the country where a GOP incumbent is running in a state that Clinton carried. Democrats face long odds of taking control of the U.S. Senate in November but to do so, they'd need to take Heller's seat while winning elsewhere.

His opponent, U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen, calls Heller a "rubber stamp" for the president.

"The outcome of this race could decide the future of everything from Obamacare and Medicare to the Supreme Court," she said in a campaign email to supporters Wednesday.

The swing state was a standout for Democratic victories in 2016 and the party has more registered voters than Republicans.

Democrats are also favored by a historical pattern of the president's party losing seats in a midterm - but they must also contend with turnout rates that tend to lag behind Republicans in non-presidential election years.

Heller, a past critic of Trump, has turned the president into a political ally. Trump, in turn, gifted him a huge favor in March by persuading Heller's main primary challenger to drop out.

The senator estimated Trump's move saved him $3 million to $5 million in campaign funds that he would have had to spend fighting off the challenge. Instead, he's got $5 million ready for the general election battle, according to his most recent fundraising reports.

Rosen, a former computer programmer and synagogue president, reported having about half that amount, though she's been bringing in more money in recent months than Heller. The first-term congresswoman from southern Nevada isn't as well-known as Heller and will have to work to boost her name recognition outside the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Republicans are likewise well-financed in the governor's race.

Laxalt, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and son of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, breezed through his primary battle with more than $4 million on hand in his campaign account.

The 39-year-old U.S. Navy lieutenant is backed in his bid for governor by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group funded by the wealthy Koch brothers.

Sisolak, meanwhile, spent more than $5 million to overcome a bruising primary against his Clark County Commission colleague Christina Giunchigliani, who pushed him to the left.

Giunchigliani said in her concession speech that she'd work to help Sisolak defeat Laxalt, but pledged to hold the Democrat to the positions he took in the campaign, including a vow to fight the National Rifle Association.

"You think you're progressive? You damn well better be progressive," she said.

___

Sign up for "Politics in Focus," a weekly newsletter showcasing the AP's best political reporting from around the country leading up to the midterm elections: http://apne.ws/3Gzcraw

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Administration seeks to expand immigrant family detention

    Administration seeks to expand immigrant family detention

    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:26 AM EDT2018-06-23 04:26:10 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 11:36 PM EDT2018-06-24 03:36:26 GMT
    (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...
    (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...

    The Trump administration is calling for the expanded use of family detention for immigrant parents and children who are stopped along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    The Trump administration is calling for the expanded use of family detention for immigrant parents and children who are stopped along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • The Latest: Kansas welfare agency says children's needs met

    The Latest: Kansas welfare agency says children's needs met

    Friday, June 22 2018 12:31 PM EDT2018-06-22 16:31:05 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 11:35 PM EDT2018-06-24 03:35:53 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). Darwin Micheal Mejia, right, holds hands with his mother, Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, during a news conference following their reunion at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Friday, June 22...(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). Darwin Micheal Mejia, right, holds hands with his mother, Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, during a news conference following their reunion at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Friday, June 22...
    The U.N human rights office says President Donald Trump's decision to stop the U.S. policy separating migrant parents from their children doesn't go far enough.
    The U.N human rights office says President Donald Trump's decision to stop the U.S. policy separating migrant parents from their children doesn't go far enough.
  • Car dealers gear up for Saudi women to hit the roads

    Car dealers gear up for Saudi women to hit the roads

    Friday, June 22 2018 2:43 PM EDT2018-06-22 18:43:27 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 11:35 PM EDT2018-06-24 03:35:46 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty). In this June 21, 2018 photo, Nour Obeid looks at cars at the Al-Jazirah Ford showroom in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This Sunday, Saudi Arabia will lift the world's only ban on women driving and Obeid's husband is encouraging her...(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty). In this June 21, 2018 photo, Nour Obeid looks at cars at the Al-Jazirah Ford showroom in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This Sunday, Saudi Arabia will lift the world's only ban on women driving and Obeid's husband is encouraging her...
    Car companies are looking to boost their sales in Saudi Arabia by pitching their brands to women, who'll be allowed to drive for the first time starting Sunday.
    Car companies are looking to boost their sales in Saudi Arabia by pitching their brands to women, who'll be allowed to drive for the first time starting Sunday.
Powered by Frankly