Republican Mark Amodei entered Tuesday with one sizable advantage over Democrat Kate Marshall: Registered Republican voters came out in greater force than their Democratic counterparts during the early voting period, which began Aug. 27 and ended Friday.
District-wide, more than 40,000 registered Republicans cast an early ballot, compared to fewer than 26,000 registered Democrats. Republicans hold a 32,000-vote registration advantage.
In Washoe County, Republicans cast 18,552 ballots in the early voting period compared with just 14,635 for Democrats. Independent voters cast the remaining 4,600 votes.
Furthermore, registered Republicans have returned 713 more absentee ballots than registered Democrats as of Monday, according to Washoe County Registrar of Voters Dan Burk.
Burk said voter turnout is not likely to exceed 35 percent in Washoe County. As of 9:45 p.m. with 88 percent of precincts reporting, Washoe turnout was at 27 percent, according to the Secretary of State website.
But Barbara Rose and Barbara Boyd, mother and daughter, held out hope that Marshall could stage a late-game comeback.
Self-described Democrats, Rose and Boyd cast their ballot for Marshall at Dilworth STEM Academy in the late morning hours Tuesday.
Ten voting booths here had served more than 60 voters from five precincts in the first few hours operation, according to poll manager Paul Fulstone.
“This is an older district,” he said, adding that turnout here was likely higher than in other places because senior citizens are a reliable voting bloc.
As for Rose and Boyd, the two cited several issues of concern that accounted for their votes, including health care. But the biggest concern of all was obvious.
“The issue is the economy, of course,” said Rose, who is nearing 90 years of age. Boyd nodded in agreement.
When asked why they felt Marshall better represented their interests, both said Democrats are the party of the working class, whereas Republicans represent the wealthy.
“A Republican turns me off,” Rose said.
Meanwhile, Nga Mues tapped the computer screen with her finger and cast her vote for Amodei at the Summit Christian Church in the early afternoon.
Ten voting booths were set up here to serve four precincts and only about 50 people had voted at this location in the first few hours, according to poll manager Allen Dreher.
“Early voting took a lot of steam out of Election Day,” he added.
Mues, who left Vietnam before the fall of Saigon, married an American veteran of the Korean War and now lives in Spanish Springs, said government needs to act more responsibly when spending taxpayers’ money.
“Spending is No. 1,” she said of the issue that most worries her.
But Mues has little confidence that the economy will get turned around in the near future.
“It will take a long time getting back to so-called normal,” she said.
When asked to describe how she felt about the troubled economy, Mues said she was scared of the economic prospects her grandchildren might face.
“I never had this feeling before,” she said.
Ken Davis knows this feeling well.
The 52-year-old Sparks resident cast his ballot Tuesday at the Sparks Library, where 14 booths served voters from seven precincts.
“Turnout has been pretty brisk,” said poll manager Mark Greenwell, adding that turnout was about on par with other election cycles, at least at this one location.
Davis has had difficulty finding full-time employment in recent months. He is currently working a temporary job after his carpet cleaning business fell on hard times.
Davis declined to say whom he voted for, but job creation was his single biggest priority heading into the voting booth.
However, Davis sees himself as a realist.
“I don’t expect the president to do something instantly” to fix the economy, Davis said, adding that he would remain patient and continue looking for more steady employment.