Following up on the last article regarding the 2010 Nevada statewide elections, this article is a continuation and will involve the 2014 Nevada statewide elections. In 2014, a wave year for Republicans, although not as dominant nationwide as the election year of 2010, Republicans managed to sweep Nevada’s statewide races. Nevada, being a quintessential swing state in which Nevada Democrats have a slight advantage, has seen many competitive races since its induction in the union, and 2014 was no exception. Some of the races held in 2014 ended in landslide victories for Republican candidates, while others came down to the wire.
Popular Republican governor Brian Sandoval ran against four lesser-known candidates in the Republican primary, defeating them and the None of These Candidates option with 89.88% of the vote. The Democratic primary was one of the more interesting partisan primaries held in 2014 in Nevada, as the None of These Candidates option received the most votes, but candidate Bob Goodman won the Democratic primary with 24.77% of the vote. The Independent American party ran David VanDerBeek, a prior candidate for some state offices.
|County||Sandoval (R)||Goodman (D)||3rd||Total||GOP||DEM|
|Margin||R +255,618||R +46.7%|
Sandoval won every county in the state by at least 20% on his way to securing the highest percentage of the vote of all gubernatorial candidates in 2014. He carried all the state’s counties by more than 20%, including the Democratic bastion of Clark County (home to Los Vegas and most of the state’s population) by nearly 40 percentage points, while also carrying the swing county of Washoe (home to the city of Reno) by nearly 60 percentage points. In the state’s rural counties, Sandoval won nearly 80% of the vote. His performance was the strongest for a gubernatorial candidate in the state since 1986, and was so dominant that it led to the state falling under complete Republican control in both legislative and statewide races.
In the race for Lieutenant Governor, incumbent Republican Brian Krolicki was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits, so the Republican and Democratic primaries did not feature an incumbent. In the Republican primary, State Senator Mark Hutchison ran against prior state senator and prior chair of the Nevada Republican party Sue Lowden and candidate Chris Dyer. Lowden was favored in the runup to the primary, and commander a lead in the polls. However, Hutchison won the Republican primary with 53.76% of the vote, securing his place as the Republican nominee. On the Democratic side, assemblymember Lucy Flores ran for the nomination against candidate Harley Kulkin, with Flores winning the Democratic primary with 71.47% of the vote, sending both Hutchison and Flores to the general election. Independent American candidate Mike Little was nominated by his party.
|County||Hutchison (R)||Flores (D)||3rd||Total||RPCT||DPCT|
|Margin||R +140,872||R +25.82%|
Hutchison secured a convincing 25.8% margin of victory in the race, winning by an impressive margin of over 140,00 votes. Hutchison carried the Democratic bastion of Clark County by 60,000 votes – a 17% margin – and the swing county of Washoe by a 25% margin. In the rural counties, he won by over 50 percentage points.
In the race for Nevada Attorney General, Ross Miller, the term limited Democratic Secretary of State, ran for the Attorney General position vacated by term limited Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto. Her Republican opponent in the race was Adam Laxalt, son of former New Mexico senator Pete Domenici and the grandson of the prior popular Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt. The Independent American party ran candidate Jonathan Hansen, an attorney. None of the candidates faced primary opposition and, in most polls, Miller was favored over Laxalt.
|County||Laxalt (R)||Miller (D)||3rd||Total||RPCT||DPCT|
|Margin||R +4,750||R +0.88%|
Laxalt recorded the narrowest victory of any statewide candidate. Unusually, Laxalt managed to win the state without carrying either Clark or Washoe counties; Miller won them by margins of 5.5% and 1.5%, respectively. However, Laxalt decisive margins in the state’s rural counties enabled him to carry the state overall by a tiny margin of just 0.9% (4,750 votes). The presence of the Independent American candidate, along with the None of These Candidates option, likely reduced Miller’s winning percentage in both Clark and Washoe to under 50%, a factor that almost certainly place the major role in Laxalt’s victory.
Secretary of State
The election for Nevada Secretary of State pitted the term-limited Democratic State Treasurer Kate Marshall against Republican State Senator Barbara Cegavske. There was no third-party candidate present in the race, except for the option of None of These Candidates. The two major party candidates also did not face primary opposition, running unopposed in their respective primaries. The scarce polling of the race usually found Marshall ahead by a few points, but with many undecided voters.
|County||Cegavske (R)||Marshall (D)||3rd||Total||RPCT||DPCT|
|Margin||R +23,108||R +4.26%|
Cegavske had won a narrow victory over Marshall, the second-closest race of the cycle in Nevada. Unusually, Democrats carried rural Mineral County and swing Washoe County, but failed to win in Clark County. This unusual coalition helped Marshall come close, but her failure to win in Clark was the decisive factor in Cegavske’s 23,108 vote victory.
In the election for Nevada State Treasurer, term-limited Democratic State Controller Kim Wallin ran against Republican Dan Schwartz and Independent American candidate Kress Cave. None of the candidates faced primary oppposition in their respective primaries. Polling before the election had shown Schwartz with a lead, but had a large number of undecided voters. In any event, the candidates faced off in the November General Election.
|County||Schwartz (R)||Wallin (D)||3rd||Total||RPCT||DPCT|
|Margin||R +53,700||R +9.95%|
Republican Schwartz won every county in the state en route to a deceive victory of just under 10 percentage points. It should be noted that Schwartz ran with a greater margin in Washoe County than some of the other Republican candidates in Nevada that year, carrying it by a 12% margin.
In the election for Nevada State Controller, which was an open seat race, Andrew Martin, a Democratic state assemblyman, faced off against Republican Ron Knecht (a regent of the University of Nevada, Reno) and Independent American candidate Tom Jones. Martin did not face primary opposition, whereas Knecht won 52.57% of the vote in a Republican primary against Barry Herr and Cort Arlint, who took around 24.00% of the vote, with the None of These Candidates option taking 14.35%. The three candidates advanced to the general election in November.
|County||Knecht (R)||Martin (D)||3rd||Total||RPCT||DPCT|
|Margin||R +70,101||R +13.28%|
Knecht won a convincing victory, carrying every county in the state. Knecht was able to carry Clark County by a margin of 4.4% (around 14,000 votes) and also won Washoe by a wide margin, along with the state’s rural counties. Knecht’s 13.3% margin of victory ranked middle-of-the-pack as far as statewide nominees were in 2014, but was still an impressive performance overall.
This was not just the most recent great midterm for Nevada Republicans, but perhaps their high-water mark in state history. Since this election, they’ve lost control of both houses of the legislature and most statewide offices. Sandoval, who left office with high favorability ratings, has since declined several chances to run for Senate.
While Republicans would win the Gubernatorial race in 2022, they were not able to flip any other statewide offices in that year. They lost most of these offices in the blue wave environment of 2018. Barbara Cegavske would hold onto her Secretary of State office in 2018, signifying that she was a strong candidate. Overall, most of the Republican candidates in 2014 won by high single-digit to low double-digit margins, also helping candidates down the ballot win in their races for Nevada State Senate, Nevada Assembly, and Congress.