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(Also at Nevada Progressive)

 Since the last time we examined the state of the race for #NVLeg, Democrats had gained an edge in their quest to keep control of the Senate... And possibly even expand their numbers. So what's happened since June?

For one, overall voter registration trends have strongly favored Nevada Democrats over the course of the summer, with the only exception being SD 15 in Washoe County. In addition, recent polling has shown tight races in most of the contested Senate races, as well as a steady lead in the "generic ballot" statewide. So all in all, the big picture still looks brighter than some pundits think.

Need proof? Take a look below.

Clark County

SD 5
Henderson- Green Valley, Silverado Ranch, Old Henderson

US-Pres 2008
Obama (D) 56%
McCain (R) 42%

Estimated NV-Sen 2010
H Reid (D) 54%
Angle (R) 41%

Estimated NV-Gov 2010
Sandoval (R) 50%
R Reid (D) 45%

Voter Registration: +3.70% Democratic

Race Rating: Tossup

Early on, Kirk was seen by many pundits as at least a slight favorite (despite the partisan numbers) because of his strong fundraising. However, he was ultimately forced to spend in the primary. That gave Democrat and Former State Senator Joyce Woodhouse (who entered just this year, after Senator Shirley Breeden announced her retirement) a chance to catch up on fundraising... And get a head start on persuading voters in the field.

So far, Woodhouse has been working extra hard in the field, including canvassing herself, leaving signed lit at doors (where no one answered), and going the extra mile to be extra visible in the community. That's probably why the Senate Democratic Caucus internal poll had her leading 47-43 (and even the Senate GOP internal could only muster a 44-37 Kirk lead). I'm still waiting to see what kind of field work Kirk's campaign will do, but so far it just looks like he has a bare bones team of canvassers passing out "Generic Republican" fliers. While Kirk will probably get some high profile help in the home stretch (he did just snag the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce endorsement), it's still unclear how he intends to counter what's increasingly looking like a "perfect storm" of strong Democratic field work, additional union field efforts, and the Obama campaign & state party efforts to expand the Democratic electorate.

SD 6
Las Vegas- Summerlin, Northwest

US-Pres 2008
Obama (D) 55%
McCain (R) 43%

Estimated NV-Sen 2010
H Reid (D) 53%
Angle (R) 43%

Estimated NV-Gov 2010
Sandoval (R) 52%
R Reid (D) 44%

Voter Registration: +4.49% Democratic

Race Rating: Tossup

In June, some Democratic insiders were starting to worry about this seat potentially slipping away. After all, Benny Yerushalmi scored a weak 56% in the Democratic Primary against "some dude" who spent $0 (!!!) on his campaign. Meanwhile, Republican Mark Hutchison was reveling in the spotlight as
"Mr. Take Down Obamacare"... And as someone several big business lobbyists seemed to be rallying behind.

Yet over the summer, the Democratic registration edge here swelled swelled to nearly 4.5%. And apparently, Yerushalmi seems to do better in internal polling than most had expected. While this may still be a tough seat for Democrats to hold, all may not be lost here.

SD 9
Enterprise- Rhodes Ranch, Mountain's Edge, Southern Highlands

US-Pres 2008
Obama (D) 58%
McCain (R) 40%

Estimated NV-Sen 2010
H Reid (D) 54%
Angle (R) 41%

Estimated NV-Gov 2010
Sandoval (R) 50%
R Reid (D) 46%

Voter Registration: +5.61% Democratic

Race Rating: Leans Democratic

So State Senate Republican Leader Michael Roberson got his way in the end after all... Or did he? Mari St. Martin will indeed be the GOP nominee here. However, that's coming at a very steep price. While Brent Jones failed to upset on Tuesday, his "tea party" fueled opposition to St. Martin and Roberson succeeded in damaging the former Nevada Republican Party spokesperson's public image. In branding St. Martin as a "reckless party girl", they reminded voters of their Former Senator turned Maxim model (Elizabeth Halseth). And in the end, that does nothing but further weaken Team Red in this seat that redistricting first put into play.

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, Justin Jones breezed through his primary, raised over $130,000 so far this year, and has been working the field like crazy. In addition, Democrats' voter registration advantage jumped over the course of the summer. Even the Republicans' own internal poll had Justin Jones leading! On top of all this, there have been no reports of any field being done by and/or for Mari St. Martin. Add this all up, and it looks like this seat is slipping away from the Republicans' grasp more quickly than anyone had originally expected.

SD 18
Las Vegas- Northwest, Centennial Hills

US-Pres 2008
Obama (D) 50%
McCain (R) 48%

Estimated NV-Sen 2010
Angle (R) 50%
H Reid (D) 45%

Estimated NV-Gov 2010
Sandoval (R) 57%
R Reid (D) 38%

Voter Registration: +2.38% Republican

Race Rating: Tossup

Normally, this kind of seat is incredibly difficult for Democrats to win. However, a "near perfect storm" has put flipping this seat into the realm of possibility.

First off, the North had to give up a Senate seat. Secondly, Democrats scored big time when Kelli Ross, local businesswoman and wife of Las Vegas City Council Member Steve Ross, decided to run here. And finally, they've been helped by the ugly Republican infighting spilling over to local races.

Still, Roberson approved candidate Scott Hammond survived the primary... And that part isn't sweet music to Democrats' ears. In this primary, Roberson got to breathe a big sigh of relief.

However, Assembly Member Hammond now has a bigger task ahead in fighting for his promotion in the general. And since Kelli Ross has managed to thread the needle in preventing the Democratic base from throwing her overboard (she survived her own primary challenge from progressive favorite Donna Schlemmer) while maintaining her appeal to independent and crossover Republican voters, she can't be counted out. This is likely still a close race that Republicans will have to fight hard to win.

Washoe County

SD 15
Reno- Caughlin Ranch, Northwest, West Downtown

US-Pres 2008
Obama (D) 57%
McCain (R) 40%

Estimated NV-Sen 2010
H Reid (D) 54%
Angle (R) 40%

Estimated NV-Gov 2010
Sandoval (R) 57%
R Reid (D) 37%

Voter Registration: +1.92% Republican

Race Rating: Tossup

As usual, this seat is still on the razor's edge. The region is traditionally Republican, and Republicans are accustomed to dominating local elections. However, the region is trending Democratic and it's incredibly unlikely that Mitt Romney will do well here at the top of the ticket.

While Greg Brower has the edge in fundraising and voter registration, Sheila Leslie has the edge in field work and local goodwill in Reno. This is why the race is so close. Even the Senate GOP internal poll had a tight race, while the Senate Democratic internal had Leslie ahead by 5%. Above all the other races, this one will likely hinge on how Nonpartisans vote. And so far, Brower really hasn't done much to earn their support.

So what does the final count look like? Again, let me give the latest scoreboard, which is ranked highest to lowest in likelihood of Democratic win.

9 (Flip)
5 (Hold)
15 (Flip)
6 (Hold)
18 (Flip)

If I had to draw a line now, it would again fall just after 15. This would give Democrats 12 seats, or a net gain of 1 (GOP flips 6, but Dems flip 9 & 15). While I decided to keep the tilts the same for now, I'm already noticing some changes coming that could reshape the landscape this fall. While SD 18 should go Republican, Kelli Ross has so far proven to be a stronger campaigner than many had originally expected (and that's what's keeping it in Tossup Territory). And while Democrats have had trouble in SD 6, there may yet be hope for Benny Yerushalmi if he can pick up his ground game.

However, some things are constant. SD 9 continues to slip away from Republicans as Mari St. Martin does next to nothing to counter Justin Jones' strong field efforts. And even though Steve Kirk seemed to have the inside track early on, Joyce Woodhouse continues to stay in the game by running a nearly impeccable ground game. As I always like to say, field matters. And this fall, what happens in the field will likely determine the balance of power in Carson City next year.

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