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Today is the primary in Nevada. Races to watch below:

1. Democratic Governor. State Senator Dina Titus, an American Government prof at UNLV, is a Wellstonesque progressive running an insurgent campaign against a conservative Liebermanesque democrat backed by big-money developers. Her primary opponent has spent over $3m, most of it on attack ads, while Titus has relied on a large corps of volunteers from labor, teachers, students, environmental groups (including rural preservation// water conservationists), women's groups and other progressives. She's been shrewd in her use of money, running effective 15-second ads, using the web to frame the coverage, and even printing her yard signs double-sided on durable plastic to cut costs. HEr campaign is built on a strong message of education, economic diversification, environmental conservation, alternative energy and ethics reform, and to the surprise and consternation of most pundits (and corporate gaming lobbyists), she's forged a double digit lead and is expected to win the primary tomorrow.

2. Republican primary. Delay/Pombo acolyte Jim Gibbons, whose ealry gaffes led his handlers (who have close ties to the Bush family) to hide him at all costs from voters, reporters -- everyone except big-money donors. His big money and attack ads go against conservative state senator Bob Beers, who has run the Republican version of Titus's message-driven campaign (only his message is too narrow -- one issue, support for Nevada's version of TABOR.) The third candidate, Lt Gov Lorraine Hunt, a moderate, will probably divide the anti-Gibbons vote and prevent a classic Titus vs. Beers general election.

3. In the GOP primary for the 2nd CD, the mainstream moderate Republican, Dean Heller, risks being upset by Club for Growther Sharon Angle -- unless the wife of Jim Gibbons (see above), state Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, peels off enough right-wing votes from Angle to let Heller squeak by.   The Dems have a strong, well funded candidate for htis very republican seat, Jill Derby, and if Angle wins, this race will be one of the hottest in the country in Nov.

4. In Clark County, a hotly constested county commission seat between old-guard Democrat Myrna Williams, who is backed by big development money and has hired a stable of republican consultants who specialize in attacks, in a desparate attempt to fend off hard-charging, progressive state Assemblywoman CHris Guinchigliani. This is a race pits the local SEIU chapter (backing Guinchigliani) and other, progressive unions against developers and building trades unions (backing Williams). The district is heavily democratic, full of blue collar whites and hispanics; heavy turnout and a Guinchigliani win here bodes well for efforts to turn NEvada blue, since it will mean there is a larger ase that can be mobilized in Las Vegas than has previously been thought to be the case -- esp by those who seemingly fetishize the rural vote as the key to democratic victory statewide.

Originally posted to desmoulins on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 12:10 AM PDT.

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