The 2022 Political State of Nevada

ABC 13 Action News Meme

The good, the bad, and the hella scary

In recent decades, Nevada has switched from a blood red state to a purple state to a light blue state

Democrats dominate both the Nevada State Assembly and State Senate, but in the Senate they lack the supermajority needed to block vetoes from the Republican Governor.

Three out of the four Congressional seats from Nevada are held by Democrats, and with Catherine Cortez Masto’s win, both of our Senators are Democrats.

In our statewide elections, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and State Controller positions went to Republicans, while Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Attorney General positions went to Democrats.

Steve Sisolak’s big loss

It was a painful loss for Governor Steve Sisolak to Clark County Sherriff Joe Lombardo, who was endorsed by Donald Trump but is not an election denier. Sisolak was the sole incumbent governor to lose his seat in 2022. His COVID-19 restrictions shut down the Las Vegas Strip and many small businesses, leading to record unemployment of 28% – the highest in the nation. By October 2022, Nevada was still in a bad position ranking third worst with a 4.4% unemployment rate, just behind Illinois and the District of Columbia. Sisolak did the right thing shutting down the Nevada economy, but paid a hard price professionally. If the Las Vegas casinos and tourism sector remained open during the COVID epidemic, Nevada would have been a center of explosive transmission given the intermingling of people of a diversity of communities. Hospitals would have been overwhelmed like they were in New York.   

Conversely, Lombardo was applauded for his management of the 1 October massacre in 2017 that resulted in 61 deaths (including the shooter) and over 413 injuries. He pledges to fix the education system, build a stronger economy, expand affordable housing, and restore law and order. Nevada has a history of moderate Republican governors such as Brian Sandoval, Kenny Guinn, and Paul Laxalt. Despite courting the endorsement of Donald Trump and calling him a “great president,” Democrats in Nevada are hoping that Lombardo will take a moderate approach to governing the Silver State. In his victory speech, Lombardo promised “a new brand of leadership.” We shall see.

Some Democratic wins in Nevada were critical

Attorney General: Aaron Ford vs. Sigal Chattah

Sigal Chattah, a civil and criminal defense attorney who challenged Sisolak’s COVID-19 policies, poised herself as an anti-establishment candidate hell-bent on taking down corrupt government officials. Her rhetoric was so terrifying that many prominent Republican leaders in Nevada vocally supported her opponent Aaron Ford. She wants to imprison women who have an abortion, and she actually said that Ford – the first African American to hold a statewide constitutional office in Nevada – “should be hanging from a fucking crane.”

Secretary of State: Cisco Aguilar vs. Jim Marchant

Since the Secretary of State oversees elections, this was a critical race. Former Assemblyman Marchant was an election denier supported by Mr. My Pillow (Mike Lindell) and Robert Beadles, an election denier, QAnon fan, and vile antisemite. Beadles, who made his fortune in construction, real estate, and cryptocurrency, is a 2020 transplant to Nevada who uses his livestream platform “Crypto Beadles” to promote his hate.

Treasurer: Zach Conine vs. Michele Fiore

Former Las Vegas City Councilwoman and State Assemblywoman, Fiore originally placed her hat in the Governor’s race against Steve Sisolak, but switched to the less-crowded field competing for Treasurer. She calls herself “Lady Trump.” Her reputation as a crazy gun lady who allegedly mismanaged her personal businesses and her on-going investigation by the FBI over campaign finances inspired many Republican leaders to endorse the incumbent Conine, who skillfully managed Nevada’s finances during the COVID epidemic.

The other Republican wins

Lieutenant Governor: Stavros Anthony vs. Lisa Cano Burkhead

Stavros Anthony, the newly elected Lieutenant Governor, has served on Las Vegas City Council since 2009. He was appointed Mayor Pro Tem by Mayor Carolyn Goodman for a term from 2011 to 2015 and was reappointed in 2020. As Lieutenant Governor, Anthony’s goal is to require voter ID and to eliminate Nevada’s vote by mail system established in 2021. Before his career in politics, Anthony served in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and retired as a captain after 29 years. His opponent, Lisa Cano Burkhead, was a former teacher and administrator who was appointed Lieutenant Governor in December 2021 by Steve Sisolak to replace Kate Marshall who had taken a position in the Biden administration.

State Controller: Andy Matthews vs. Ellen Spiegal

Andy Matthews handedly defeated his opponent Ellen Spiegal, who served five terms in the Nevada Assembly, by 50.1% to 46%. Before becoming State Controller, Andy Matthews served a freshman term in the Nevada State Assembly – elected in 2020 – for a district in western Las Vegas. A 2006 transplant from Massachusetts, Matthews made his name locally when he began working for the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) in 2007. Matthews currently serves as president of this conservative non-profit watchdog organization notorious for publishing government salaries, including those of individual teachers.

Nevada may not be hard blue, but thanks to its expanding population – including many former Californians – it will never be blood red again. Clark County – the home of Las Vegas – is among the most diverse urban regions in the nation, and it is home to 74% of Nevada’s population. Nevada is essentially two states: Clark County and Northern Nevada. Thanks to the razor close race between Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt, we have caught the political attention of the rest of nation.

Stop mispronouncing the name of our state

Finally – for what it’s worth – please learn how to pronounce our name. It is Ne-VAD-uh not Ne-VAH-duh. I know; Nevada is a Spanish word meaning snow-capped, but it’s pronounced in a bastardized English way just like Los Angeles. Sorry Bill Maher and other media personalities, but it’s time to get it right.

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