The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.
● NV State Senate: Shady GOP antics are afoot in the Silver State.
Nevada Republicans are, understandably, less than thrilled about losing what had been a slim 11-10 majority to the Democrats in the 2016 elections. The loss of Senate control coincided with a dramatic power shift towards Democrats in the state Assembly, where Republicans went from a 24-15 majority (plus one Libertarian) to a 17-25 minority overnight last fall. And one senator added insult to the GOP’s new minority-status injury by leaving the Republican caucus a few days after the election, declaring herself an independent and caucusing with Democrats, giving them an effective 12-9 majority in the state Senate. Only GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval stands between Republicans and relative political irrelevance in the state.
Republicans theoretically have a chance for a comeback next year, but their electoral prospects are less than sunny in the upper chamber. In 2018, the half of the state Senate that wasn’t on the ballot last fall is up for election. Unfortunately for the GOP, however, the 10 Senate seats going before voters next year include only three districts currently held by Democrats, all of whom survived the rather difficult 2014 cycle with strong performances. The most viable pickup “opportunity” for Republicans is to replace party-switcher Patricia Farley in a seat where Clinton edged Trump 48-47. But that only matters if they can successfully play defense, because one Republican incumbent on the ballot next fall currently occupies a seat Clinton carried easily (52-43), giving Democrats an opportunity to further expand their majority.
So, faced with a tough election cycle, Republicans could attempt to do things like recruit great candidates, raise a ton of money, or resign themselves to working cooperatively with their Democratic colleagues for the next three years to advance policies that move Nevada forward.
Instead, Republicans are trying to trigger election do-overs in three districts: two in seats they lost last fall and one in a competitive district they worry they can’t win in a general election. The third senator they’re trying to recall—Farley, who now caucuses with Democrats—isn’t even running for re-election, but Republicans are clearly worried they won’t pick her open seat back up.