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Republican Amodei's Big Win in Nevada

11:21 AM, Sep 14, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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In yesterday's special election for Congress in Nevada, Republican Mark Amodei trounced Democrat Kate Marshall in the Second Congressional District. Amodei received 58 percent of the vote, while Marshall received only 36 percent. The Las Vegas Sun has more:

Republican Mark Amodei chalked up a crushing victory in Tuesday’s special election for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s old House seat, routing Democrat Kate Marshall by 22 percentage points.

With an assist by national Republicans wary of losing another special election in the run-up to a presidential campaign year, Amodei’s win surprised few in the heavily Republican district.

“The voters of Nevada sent a message,” Amodei told a cheering room of supporters. “That message unmistakably is: It’s time to start a change.”

In a sad acquiescence to the inevitability of the loss, Marshall’s campaign booked an election night celebration room with a capacity for fewer than 100 people.

The GOP today is also celebrating its upset win yesterday in New York's Ninth Congressional District. The Nevada win, however, was not an upset: The congressional district has been represented by a Republican since its creation in 1983.

But while George W. Bush won the Second Congressional District handily in both 2000 and 2004, John McCain won the district by only 88 votes in 2008, giving Barack Obama over 165,000 votes in a state he ended up winning by just over 120,000 votes. Nevada Democrats turned out to vote in 2008 at remarkably high numbers, and it's difficult to gauge future turnout trends from what happens in special elections. Obama could still win the Western swing state in 2012.

Still, national Democrats may be more than a little nervous over what happened in Nevada yesterday. Marshall ran in the rural district as a conservative Democrat, outraised Amodei nearly 2 to 1--and lost by over 20 points. Amodei, on the other hand, ran against Barack Obama and Washington Democrats. One of his campaign ads charged, "We were promised recovery. We've been given misery. Let's get Washington's attention." Another ad said Marshall would be a "rubber stamp" for Obama.

Furthermore, Nevada's unemployment rate has been among the highest in the nation during the last few years. Obama didn't do himself any favors when he seemingly disparaged the gambling industry in Las Vegas last year. Dissatisfaction with Obama wasn't enough to topple Harry Reid last fall, but things have only gotten worse. One wonders whether Nevada's six electoral votes could be cast for the GOP candidate next year.

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