Primary Pulse: Voters speak on why they're voting
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
At the East Las Vegas Community Center, the friendly and helpful Clark County voting volunteers made everything so easy. They looked me up. They checked my signature. They gave me the green light.
“You’re ready to vote, Mr. Gillan,” a volunteer told me. I thanked her, and soon stood and stared at Clark County’s new voting machines that look like oversized iPads.
On this Thursday, I did my part: I voted early, and I was not alone.
As of 3 p.m. today, through almost 13 days of early voting, more than 82-thousand Clark County voters have cast ballots. We're blowing away 2014, the last midterm primary when just under 62-thousand voted early and we still have one more day left.
The primary's getting attention. It's got Ken's, who preferred not to give me his last name. I asked him what was important to him in this election.
“Just letting Sheriff Lombardo know that I really think he's doing a great job,” he told me.
Lombardo, the incumbent, faces a primary for reelection. This is one of the dozens of races getting attention: local contests for local government and school trustee; contests for state Assembly, Senate, and other state offices. Competitive faceoffs for Congress: Republicans in District 3 and Democrats in District 4. And both parties have contests for Governor.
It's the Democratic primary for governor generating the most heat, a brawl between Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak. He’s labeled her a professional money-grabbing politician; she’s labeled him a Democrat-in-name-only. It’s two Democrats fighting, and Democrat Mikka Moon wishes they weren't.
“And it's just sad the way everyone just trashes each other. I just think it's just very sad,” Moon told me, as she, her 92-year-old dad and sister had just finished voting. Michael Boka, the father, was born in 1925 and has lived through 18 presidents.
“Well, I don’t think I’ve missed an election in my lifetime, so I wanted to make sure I made this one, too,” Boka told me.
Democrats have a voter registration edge in Clark County, and through Wednesday they’ve outnumbered Republicans by roughly 13,000 early voters. Part of the turnout, experts say, is the typical referendum on the national party in power, which this case is a Republican Washington controlled by President Donald Trump.
Mikka’s sister, Monica, is a registered Republican, who may make this the last time she votes in a GOP primary.
“I have been a Republican for years, and now I think I’m changing to Democrat,” Boka says.
At Galleria Mall, there’s been a steady stream of early voters. John Holliday is a Republican.
“You know, wanna get somebody in there that’s obviously gonna do a good job for the State of Nevada,” he says. Holliday calls himself a conservative and is pretty happy with how things are going.
“Economy’s doing great. Let it continue to keep great. That’s what we’re looking for,” he says.
Back at the East Las Vegas Community Center, 84-year-old Esther French was voting with her husband Ronald. Las Vegas has been their home for 60 years, during which time they’ve had four children who have given them 9 grandchildren. Safety is what’s on Esther’s election radar.
“More protection for seniors,” French says, telling me she voted for Lombardo for sheriff.
This primary narrows the field, and in some nonpartisan races, picks winners.
For Manual Tolentino, he wants whoever wins, to do their job.
“We very happy that we pay the taxes and see the taxes working,” Tolentino says.
Bipartisan approval for that, in what's shaping up to be a monumental midterm.