Nevada voters face familiar names on Tuesday primary ballot

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  • FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev, speaks during a media briefing at Metro Police headquarters in Las Vegas. Heller is considered the vulnerable Republican senator seeking re-election, but he has an easy primary battle Tuesday, June 12, 2018, thanks to President Donald Trump. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP, File)

  • 1

    In this June 6, 2018, photo, Clark County Commission member Chris Giunchigliani, right, speaks with Susan Garcia, center, and Aileen Vides while campaigning in Las Vegas. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between longtime Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • 2

    FILE - In this May 8, 2018, file photo, Clark County Commission member Steve Sisolak meets with people during a forum for Nevada gubernatorial candidates organized by Nevada faith groups. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • 3

    In this June 6, 2018, photo, Clark County Commission member Chris Giunchigliani, right, hugs Anthony Gonzalez while campaigning in Las Vegas. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between longtime Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • 4

    FILE - In this May 8, 2018, file photo, Clark County Commission member Steve Sisolak speaks during a forum for Nevada gubernatorial candidates organized by Nevada faith groups. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • 5

    In this April 27, 2018, photo, owner Dennis Hof sits in front of the Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nev. A coalition of religious groups and anti-sex trafficking activists have launched referendums to ban brothels in two of Nevada's seven counties where they legally operate. Hof, who has half a dozen brothels operating in the two counties and starred in the HBO adult reality series "Cathouse,” is challenging incumbent Assembly member James Oscarson of Pahrump in a Republican primary Tuesday, June 12. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • 6

    FILE - In this April 26, 2016 file photo, Danny Tarkanian participates in a Republican debate for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District in Henderson, Nev. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. Tarkanian is expected to face wealthy Democratic philanthropist Susie Lee in Nevada's most expensive House race in November. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • 7

    FILE - In this March 21, 2011 file photo, then-Nevada congressional candidate Sharron Angle answers questions from the media in Reno. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. Angle, a tea party favorite who lost to Sen. Harry Reid in 2010, has railed against fourth-term Republican Rep. Mark Amodei's willingness to consider amnesty for immigrants living in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison, File)

  • 8

    FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2015 file photo, Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV., speaks at the 19th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit at Zephyr Cove in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. The only incumbent who was believed to face a potentially serious primary challenge is fourth-term Republican Amodei in northern Nevada's 2nd District, where no Democrat has won since its creation in 1980. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

  • 9

    FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, Nevada 4th Congressional District candidate Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., delivers his concession speech at the Nevada GOP election night watch party at South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. The road to victory begins in next week's primaries where two ex-congressmen - Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Hardy - are expected to emerge victorious and set up a rematch of their 2014 contest when Hardy unseated Horsford in the 4th District stretching north of Las Vegas through four rural counties. (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill, File)

  • 10

    FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2014 file photo, Rep. Steven Horsford takes the stage to speak at an event with former President Bill Clinton in Las Vegas. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. The road to victory begins in next week's primaries where two ex-congressmen - Democrat Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy - are expected to emerge victorious and set up a rematch of their 2014 contest when Hardy unseated Horsford in the 4th District stretching north of Las Vegas through four rural counties. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev, speaks during a media briefing at Metro Police headquarters in Las Vegas. Heller is considered the vulnerable Republican senator seeking re-election, but he has an easy primary battle Tuesday, June 12, 2018, thanks to President Donald Trump. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP, File)

  • 1

    In this June 6, 2018, photo, Clark County Commission member Chris Giunchigliani, right, speaks with Susan Garcia, center, and Aileen Vides while campaigning in Las Vegas. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between longtime Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • 2

    FILE - In this May 8, 2018, file photo, Clark County Commission member Steve Sisolak meets with people during a forum for Nevada gubernatorial candidates organized by Nevada faith groups. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • 3

    In this June 6, 2018, photo, Clark County Commission member Chris Giunchigliani, right, hugs Anthony Gonzalez while campaigning in Las Vegas. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between longtime Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • 4

    FILE - In this May 8, 2018, file photo, Clark County Commission member Steve Sisolak speaks during a forum for Nevada gubernatorial candidates organized by Nevada faith groups. The fiercest primary election battle in Nevada this year is a race between two Democrats vying to become the swing state's first Democratic governor in almost two decades. The fight between Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani has seen them spar over their response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas while pledging to resist President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • 5

    In this April 27, 2018, photo, owner Dennis Hof sits in front of the Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nev. A coalition of religious groups and anti-sex trafficking activists have launched referendums to ban brothels in two of Nevada's seven counties where they legally operate. Hof, who has half a dozen brothels operating in the two counties and starred in the HBO adult reality series "Cathouse,” is challenging incumbent Assembly member James Oscarson of Pahrump in a Republican primary Tuesday, June 12. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • 6

    FILE - In this April 26, 2016 file photo, Danny Tarkanian participates in a Republican debate for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District in Henderson, Nev. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. Tarkanian is expected to face wealthy Democratic philanthropist Susie Lee in Nevada's most expensive House race in November. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

  • 7

    FILE - In this March 21, 2011 file photo, then-Nevada congressional candidate Sharron Angle answers questions from the media in Reno. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. Angle, a tea party favorite who lost to Sen. Harry Reid in 2010, has railed against fourth-term Republican Rep. Mark Amodei's willingness to consider amnesty for immigrants living in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison, File)

  • 8

    FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2015 file photo, Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV., speaks at the 19th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit at Zephyr Cove in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. The only incumbent who was believed to face a potentially serious primary challenge is fourth-term Republican Amodei in northern Nevada's 2nd District, where no Democrat has won since its creation in 1980. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

  • 9

    FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, Nevada 4th Congressional District candidate Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., delivers his concession speech at the Nevada GOP election night watch party at South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. The road to victory begins in next week's primaries where two ex-congressmen - Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Hardy - are expected to emerge victorious and set up a rematch of their 2014 contest when Hardy unseated Horsford in the 4th District stretching north of Las Vegas through four rural counties. (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill, File)

  • 10

    FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2014 file photo, Rep. Steven Horsford takes the stage to speak at an event with former President Bill Clinton in Las Vegas. All eyes are on Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's re-election bid, but two U.S. House seats could be key to the Democrats’ effort to cut into GOP majorities in Congress. The road to victory begins in next week's primaries where two ex-congressmen - Democrat Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy - are expected to emerge victorious and set up a rematch of their 2014 contest when Hardy unseated Horsford in the 4th District stretching north of Las Vegas through four rural counties. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The most closely-watched race in Nevada's primary election Tuesday is not GOP Sen. Dean Heller's re-election battle — thanks to President Donald Trump — but instead is a contentious Democratic race for governor.

Heller, the only GOP senator seeking re-election in a state won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, originally expected to face a tough challenge from Republican Danny Tarkanian until the president asked him to run for Congress instead.

Heller now can expect to breeze through his primary and focus on readying for a November battle with Rep. Jacky Rosen, who is expected to easily win her party's backing Tuesday against five others.

The toughest choice for Democrats will be a close battle between Clark County Commission colleagues Steve Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani — each hoping to be Nevada's first Democratic governor in two decades.

Both candidates have pledged to stand up to Trump and the National Rifle Association.

Sisolak is chair of the powerful governing body for Clark County, which includes the Las Vegas Strip and about two-thirds of the state's residents. The 64-year-old became a prominent figure in the wake of an October mass shooting outside a hotel-casino on the Strip and he's been outraising his opponents in the primary.

But Giunchigliani paints Sisolak as being too moderate and has knocked him for receiving an "A-" minus rating from the NRA in 2012.

Giunchigliani, who goes by "Chris G," is a 63-year-old former state legislator and teacher. She's earned backing from women's group Emily's List and on Sunday, picked up an endorsement from Hillary Clinton. The 2016 Democratic candidate for president recorded a robocall for Giunchigliani and referred to her as "an extraordinary progressive leader"

Sisolak, who has held more moderate positions in the past, says he's best-positioned to take on Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt in November. Laxalt is expected to win the GOP primary for the governor's race.

Laxalt, hoping to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, is a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy who has served as the state's chief prosecutor since 2015. He's the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and son of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico.

Laxalt, who is backed by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and Americans for Prosperity, supported Trump in 2016.

Laxalt, speaking at a pre-election party in Las Vegas on Monday night, called Giunchigliani and Sisolak "a couple of the most liberal candidates that have ever run in the history of this state."

"We have a stark choice coming up," he said.

Another key Trump supporter, Tarkanian, is favored in the Republican race for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District — one of two swing seats in Nevada that Democrats are hoping to hold while they make gains elsewhere and win control of the U.S. House.

Tarkanian, the son of former University of Nevada Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, has run unsuccessfully for several offices over the past decade.

He is running in a nine-way primary and is expected to face wealthy Democratic philanthropist Susie Lee in the general election. Lee is facing six others in her primary race.

Primary contests for Nevada's other swing district, the 4th Congressional District, is expected to produce a November rematch for two former congressmen.

Former Rep. Steven Horsford is leading a six-way Democratic primary for his former seat that includes state Sen. Patricia Spearman. Horsford held the Democratic-leaning seat for one term before losing in 2014 to Republican Cresent Hardy, who is running again this year and leading a six-way GOP race for the seat. Hardy lost in 2016 to Democrat Ruben Kihuen, who announced he wouldn't seek re-election this year after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.

The most serious primary challenge to an incumbent member of Nevada's congressional delegation is conservative activist Sharron Angle's bid for Nevada's 2nd Congressional District.

Angle is a former legislator who gained national attention in 2010 when she unsuccessfully challenged ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She also lost a 2016 bid to become the GOP's nominee to replace Reid.

She faced criticism for statements on guns, immigration and other issues in the past, but incumbent Rep. Mark Amodei is favored in their battle for the Republican nomination.

Amodei has been in office since 2011 and represents a conservative northern Nevada district.

Voters on Tuesday will also decide inter-party races for Nevada lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general. They'll narrow the field in nonpartisan runoff races for the state Supreme Court and Clark County sheriff. Voters will settle about 30 primary battles for state legislative seats.

One of those races in Nye County pits incumbent Assembly member James Oscarson of Pahrump against Nevada's most famous pimp, Dennis Hof.

Hof, who starred in the HBO adult reality series "Cathouse," owns half a dozen brothels that could be threatened this year under proposals to ban such businesses in two of the state's seven counties where they're legally operating.

Hof has said the proposed brothel bans are a political attack tied to Oscarson, something Oscarson has denied.

___

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