DemDaily: Nevada Senate Race: Toss Up

May 14, 2024

In the purple state of Nevada, among the top presidential battlegrounds of 2024, Democratic Senator Jackie Rosen is one of the country's most vulnerable incumbents.

Rosen, who unseated Republican Senator Dean Heller 50.4%-45.4% in 2018, is facing the fight of her life. President Biden narrowly won Nevada by 2.4% in 2020, and recent polling shows former President Donald Trump leading by 6% in The Silver State.

The recent move of the Senate race to the "toss up" category by the Cook Political Report is bad news for Democrats, who maintain a tenuous 51-49 margin of control of the US Senate and are facing a historically challenging map in November.

Of the 34 US Senate seats up for election in 2024, Republicans are defending 11 seats, while Democrats are defending 23 -- including all seven top battleground races: Arizona, Montana, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Both Biden and Trump swept Nevada's first-in-the-west presidential primaries in February's closed primaries, and the regularly scheduled primary for congressional, state and local elections will take place June 11.

Nevada, one of the country's most diverse states, is also among the most independent in voting. As of November 2023, party registration stood at Democrat 31.46%, Republican 28.11%, Thirty Party/Other 7.65% and Unaffiliated 32.78%.

Although Republicans have not won a statewide federal race since 2012, Democrats have prevailed by narrow margins. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who succeeded five-term incumbent and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was elected in 2016 by less than 3%, and her 2022 reelection was one of the closest of the cycle -- defeating Republican nominee Adam Laxalt 48.8% to 48%, with third-party and write-in candidates totaling 3.!%.

While Rosen has minor primary opposition, the GOP has a field of contenders vying to take her on in the general election.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee's (NRSC) endorsed candidate is businessman and disabled veteran Sam Brown, who lost the 2022 Senate primary to Paul Laxalt, 56% to 34%. Former Trump Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter, former State Assemblyman and 2020 election denier Jim Marchant, and Air Force Veteran Tony Grady are also vying for the GOP nomination, along with six other contenders.

In April, Brown, who is endorsed by Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo (R), released a Tarrance Group/NRSC poll showing 58% of likely voters supported his candidacy, followed by Marchant at 6%, and Gunter and Grady at 3%.

Although Brown and Marchant have endorsed Trump, the former president has not waded into the race.

Since March 14, when he officially entered the race, through the end of the March 30 First Quarter fundraising filing, Brown reported raising $5.4 million with $2.3 million cash on hand.

Gunter, who announced his candidacy in August 2023, has raised a total of $3.3 million, including $2.7 million of his own money, with $2.6 million on hand at the end of Q1. Marchant, who announced a year ago, had raised just under $400,000 with $50,000 on hand at the end of March, and Grady reported $234,000 raised and $35,000 on hand.

A prolific fundraiser and tenacious campaigner, Rosen raised $5 million in the first quarter of 2024 -- the most raised in one quarter for US Senate in Nevada's history. In total, she has raised $24.3 million and $13.2 million cash on hand.

In good news for Democrats, Rosen and all the Democratic candidates in the seven key battleground races are significantly outraising their top Republican opponent.

DemList will keep you informed.

An April 28-May 9 New York Times/Philadelphia Inquirer/Siena College poll of likely voters showed, in a head-to-head matchup, Rosen and Brown in a dead heat, 41%-41% (MOE:± 1.9%).

DemDaily: Countdown to the Convention 5/13/24
DemDaily: Democrats Go Toe-to-Toe in Maryland Senate Race 5/8/24
DemDaily: The Country's Most (and Least) Popular Senators 5/2/24
DemDaily: Democrats Dominate First Quarter Fundraising 4/30/24
DemDaily: Senate Showdown in Pennsylvania 4/4/24

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: New York Times, Independent Voter Project, Roll Call, FiveThirtyEight, L2 Data, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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