by Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 11, 2022
So, about that red wave …
No, Republicans did not sweep all state offices the way they did in 2014.
Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto narrowly won re-election to her Senate seat, The Associated Press projected Saturday night. Democrats also have been declared the winners of three constitutional offices, majorities in the Legislature and the trio of congressional seats in Southern Nevada.
But Republicans didn’t go away empty-handed: They won the Governor’s Mansion and two of the five constitutional offices. And they may yet flip a couple of legislative seats.
One thing is clear: Nevada is not a blue state, like its neighbors California and Oregon, or a red one, like Utah. Instead, Nevada is a reliable swing state, where either Republicans or Democrats can win in the right environment, with the right candidate who has the right message.
It’s also an important lesson for the parties: More moderate candidates, such as Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo, do better in general elections than candidates with political or personal baggage, such as attorney Sigal Chattah, who was handily losing the race for attorney general, or Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore, who was losing the race for state treasurer.
And the state also rejected a prominent election denier, preferring relatively unknown Cisco Aguilar to former Assemblyman Jim Marchant, who is so distrustful of electronic voting machines that he even doubted the results of the June primary, which he won.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it best during an interview, in what might have been a classic Washington “Kinsley gaffe” in which someone accidentally tells the truth: Candidate quality matters.
Then again, let’s not forget that a large number of voters still cast ballots for the more conservative cadre of candidates — more than 435,000 for Marchant, more than 426,000 for Fiore and more than 399,000 for Chattah. That’s not insignificant, and that’s one of the inevitable takeaways from the 2022 election.
When Nye County’s new clerk, Mark Kampf, announced that he would conduct an election entirely with paper ballots and then hand-count the results, an important question arose: Could the county finish the counting in time? Nye County logged 12,450 ballots in the June primary and 17,582 votes in the midterm general election of 2018.
That’s a lot of ballots to count by hand.
But it turns out Nye had no problem submitting its results to the secretary of state’s office. The county even congratulated itself on a job well-done in a news release.
“Per Nye County Clerk, Mark Kampf, ‘over the last two and a half weeks, our team of dedicated Deputy Clerks, Poll Workers and Election Board Officials successfully implemented a paper ballot process for Nye County. Other than drop box and mail ballots received on Election Day, all Early Vote and Election Day ballots were tabulated by 11:59 pm on November 8th. This demonstrates that an all-paper ballot process can be implemented successfully in a tightly controlled process.
‘I couldn’t be prouder of the team that made this happen. They should all be congratulated for their hard work and attention to detail that made this such a success.’”
Just one thing about that: The ballots were “tabulated” not by hand but by Dominion machines that read the paper ballots and automatically added up the results.
The hand-counting? That’s taking place after the election, as a way to double-check and verify that the Dominion numbers are correct. So it’s less of a bonafide ballot-counting method and more of an election skeptic’s performance art.
What happens if the human hand-counters come up with a different number than the machine counts? Well, let’s hope we don’t have to confront that possibility.
When will it end?
The TV ads are gone. The obnoxious unsolicited texts have stopped. But the ridiculous fundraising emails? They’re still coming.
“You’ve been a TOP member of Team Laxalt, and we know that we wouldn’t be here without you,” reads an Adam Laxalt for Senate fundraising missive sent on Friday, three days after the election. “But we need your help one more time if we want to bring this one home.
“The Senate majority, the future of Nevada, and the future of AMERICA all depend on Adam winning this race. Please rush a donation now to help Adam finish the fight.”
Precisely how that donation will help — funding an expected recount perhaps? — isn’t clear.
And then there was Laura Carlson, digital director of the Democratic Governors Association, who liked to include her own photo in her fundraising pitches. She emailed on Monday to say this:
“Team, this is my final opportunity to reach out to you before voters head to the polls,” she began. “And with just hours to go before voters head to the polls across the country, I need your help.”
Our takeaway: The FINAL opportunity!
She continued: “Key races across the country are still too close to call, and our team is doing everything we can to make sure our candidates come out on top in states like Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona. Our final efforts in states like these could be what puts our Dem candidates over the top.”
Well, on Monday, all the races were too close to call, because no vote totals had been released! But the association did win Michigan and Arizona, but lost in Nevada, where Sisolak conceded the race on Friday.
Looks like not enough people donated on the last day before the election. Sad!
Culinary Local 226 boasted before Election Day that it had reached a milestone in the 2022 election, knocking on more than 1 million doors to canvass for union-endorsed candidates. According to the union, more than 450 canvassers had more than 175,000 conversations with voters, some of whom may even have been nice!
No matter what your political party or preference, you’ve got to appreciate that kind of organization and human resource operation.
But Culinary wasn’t done! After the election, the union announced that it had the largest ballot curing operation ever. “Curing” is the process whereby voters whose signatures on their mail ballot envelopes did not match their signatures on file with the elections office can verify their identity and certify their ballot is valid.
Two hundred canvassers are working on the curing effort, by phone banks, canvassing and even on employee lunch breaks, to ensure that mismatched signature ballots are verified before the Monday deadline.
All of which goes to say: The Culinary does not play when it comes to its political operation.