In 2010, Dean Heller trounced Democrat Nancy Price in the race for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional district. Republican Heller won 63.3% of the vote, or 169,548 votes. Nancy Price won 32.7% of the vote, or 87,421 votes.
Here are the May, 2011 voter registration numbers for Nevada’s CD2 fresh from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office:
Non Partisan: 59,722
Independent American: 18,947
There are 30, 490 fewer registered Democrats in the district than Republicans, and that gap must be narrowed if Kate Marshall is to win. That bears repeating: team Marshall and the state party must register more Democrats and get them all to the polls. She is also going to have to win non-partisan swing voters. There are just over 60,000 non-affiliated voters in Nevada’s far open spaces who apparently will vote their minds, but Jill Derby could not win enough of them. In the 2008 race, Heller won 52% of the vote, or 170,610 votes, and Democrat Derby won 41%, or 136,313 votes. Derby has rural Nevada roots and is smart. Kate Marshall has called Nevada home for a dozen years and is smart and ambitious. I am interested to see how she’ll do in Elko and Eureka, places where she must win swing votes.
Long story short, Kate Marshall must do something different than her predecessors in order to capture this seat. Republican Mark Amodei’s support for the Ryan budget and unpopular Medicare “solutions” may help weaken the Heller clone Amodei, but northern Nevada is not suburban Buffalo, by a long shot. If Kirk Lippold stays in the race and continues to refer to himself as the “true conservative,” that may siphon some Republican votes, but those factors will not tip the scales for Marshall. With a massive get out the vote effort and a well calculated and delivered message, Kate Marshall has a shot.
Ps. The Nevada Supreme Court will decide sometime before July 6th if the race will be open to all candidates or if only party nominees will run. More then.