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GOPAC’s Top Races to Watch: Nevada

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Welcome to GOPAC’s first edition of “Top Races to Watch.” Each week we will highlight Republican candidates running in the top state legislative races in key states across the country between now and November.

This week we take a look at the battle for control of the Nevada State Senate, where Democrats currently hold a narrow 11-10 majority and Republicans are looking to take majority control in November. If victorious, Republicans would control both the governorship and the State Senate in Nevada. (Democrats hold a steady 26-16 lead in the House of Representatives and are expected to maintain a majority this year.) The GOP must win at least four of the five competitive senate races to earn a majority.

Here’s a look at the five Republicans running in the Top Races to Watch in Nevada as the GOP looks to take control of the State Senate:

Greg Brower (R) vs. Sheila Leslie (D)
Balanced Budgets vs the “Most Liberal Member” of NV Legislature

  • District 15, Washoe County
  • Population: Lean Republican

GOPACIncumbent Republican State Senator Greg Brower faces Democratic State Senator Sheila Leslie in Northern Nevada’s District 15. In addition to holding a registration advantage over Leslie in this slightly Republican district in Washoe County, Greg Brower has been endorsed and is being strongly supported by Governor Brian Sandoval. Brower, who served in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, is a tough prosecutor who specialized in counter-terrorism and white-collar crime in the Justice Department, and served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada. He has a proven record supporting balanced state budgets without new taxes.

By contrast, as a State Legislator Sheila Leslie voted for the largest tax increase in Nevada history at the time – an $836 million increase – and supported every major tax increase that has come up, including payroll taxes, sales taxes, car taxes, gas taxes, and taxes and fees on small businesses. Leslie has been named as the most Liberal Member of the Nevada legislature.

Support Greg Brower.


Steve Kirk (R) vs. Joyce Woodhouse (D)

  • District 5, Henderson
  • Population: Lean Democrat

GOPACIn 2010, Democrat Joyce Woodhouse lost her seat in the Nevada State Senate after being defeated by Republican Michael Robertson, who outperformed the registration margin by 5 points to win. Republican Steve Kirk is likely to repeat such a feat and perform 7-10 points above the Republican registration advantage in this district encompassing Henderson, Nevada.

If so, Nevadans would be electing a dedicated public servant with sound judgment and an eye for eliminating wasteful spending. During his tenure from 1999-2011, Steve was well-known as the strongest fiscal conservative on the Henderson City Council – balancing budgets, cutting spending and keeping taxes low.

Support Steve Kirk.


Mari St. Martin (R) vs. Justin Jones (D)

  • District 9, southwest Las Vegas
  • Population: Lean Democrat

GOPACRepublican candidate Mari Nakashima St. Martin helps run a small business, balances a family budget and has always fought for conservative values. She is running to fight against government waste and pursue a more efficient, less intrusive government in our lives and in our pocketbooks. She is running to replace Republican Elizabeth Halseth who resigned earlier this year.

This November, St. Martin faces Democrat Justin Jones, who is returning to politics after suffering a devastating landslide loss in 2004. Covering the area of southwest Las Vegas, Mari Nakashima St. Martin is running in a district with a 24% Asian population. GOPAC endorsed Mari St. Martin this year, with Chairman Frank Donatelli explaining “Her goals of cutting wasteful spending, reforming tax policy to spur job creation, and eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy to improve public education are exactly the right solutions Nevada needs to once again become a state of tremendous opportunity.”

Support Mari Nakashima St. Martin.


Mark Hutchison (R) vs. Benny Yerushalmi (D)

  • District 6, northwest Las Vegas
  • Population: Lean Democrat

GOPACRepublican Mark Hutchison is a business owner who knows that getting government out of the way of small business will lead to new jobs and lasting economic growth. Mark was appointed to represent the State of Nevada in the 26 states’ federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. His platform is focused on job creation, improving education, cutting government spending, and defending Nevadans’ rights.

His opponent, Democrat Benny Yerushalmi lost his seat in the State Senate in 2010.

Support Mark Hutchinson.


Scott Hammond (R) vs. Kelli Ross (D)

  • District 18, northwest Las Vegas
  • Population: Lean Democrat

GOPACScott Hammond has dedicated his entire career to improving Nevada as an educator and as a coach. He is deeply concerned about the future of his own children and of those he is fortunate to teach and mentor. As a legislator he has fought to improve education through creative reforms that cut spending and reduced taxes.

In 2010, Hammond outperformed the registration margin in his assembly district by 9 points. Heading into the final stretch of the campaign, he leads his opponent, Democrat Kelli Ross, by a comfortable margin.

Support Scott Hammond.



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GOPAC is dedicated to educating and electing a new generation of Republican leaders. A new generation of Republican leaders is out there. And it's GOPAC's mission to promote them as they champion the conservative ideas and policies that will create jobs and address the challenges our communities face. Since 1978, GOPAC has been searching the ranks of state and local governments for promising Republican leaders, and giving them the education and financial support they need to lead America. Learn More.

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