Politics

In Nevada, Heck's Challenge Might Be Getting Tougher

Democratic voter registration continues to outpace Republicans

Rep. Joe Heck is in a tight race with Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There is a strong headwind this election season for Republicans in Nevada, where control of the Senate could be decided: Democrats are registering voters at a higher rate than in the last two presidential elections.   

Jon Ralston , a Nevada political commentator, reported  that Democrats increased their voter registration advantage over the GOP by a little more than 6,000 voters in the last two months, and just less than 70,000 overall.  

In Clark County, which includes the state's largest city of Las Vegas, Democrats have padded their advantage over Republicans which now stands at over 13 percentage points.    

[ Roll Call's 2016 Election Guide ]  

In May 2012, Democrats had a lead of 37,000 registered voters in the state that expanded to over 90,000 by Election Day, according to a report by Ralston  from two months ago.  

President Barack Obama won the state by more than 12 points in 2008, reduced to a 7-point margin of victory in 2012.  

Ralston said that this advantage "came despite the herculean efforts of the conservative registration outfit, Engage NV." He said that these new numbers "tell an ominous story for the GOP."  

[ Heck, Cortez Masto to Face Off in Nevada Senate Race ]  

Republicans are hoping to flip the Nevada Senate seat their way. The race between Democratic former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and GOP Rep. Joe Heck to replace retiring Minority Leader Harry Reid is rated a Tossup  by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.   

A Monmouth University poll  released Monday has Heck leading Cortez Masto by 2 points, 42 percent to 40 percent, which is within the poll's margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. The poll surveyed 408 likely voters in Nevada from July 7 to 10.

Contact Smith at  jeremysmith@cqrollcall.com   and follow him on Twitter  @JeremySilkSmith .

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