The Primary election is fast approaching. Early voting has already begun in Clark County at various locations. The local early voting date will take place this Friday, June 1, at the Overton Community Center. The election day itself is on Tuesday, June 12. Consult your sample ballot for your precinct’s polling place.
Turnout for Primary elections is traditionally sparse; even in the relatively high-turnout precincts of Moapa Valley. That may, in part, be due to timing. Summer vacation has just begun and people have more leisurely pursuits on their minds. But it may be more because people see the primaries as a kind of pre-show – or not yet the main event, and, therefore, less important. Many might think that the primaries are just a partisan warm-up act, easily skipped without missing much. Unfortunately, that is not so; especially not this year!
In the general sense, the primary election is a vital part of the process. It is when the voters of each party determine who will represent them on the general ballot. That can be at least as important as the general election itself. After all, if you haven’t got a viable candidate on the general ballot – one that you feel good about supporting – you may as well have no choice at all.
But this year, specifically, there is at least one primary race on the ballot that actually IS the main show. That is the Republican primary race for Assembly District 36, a huge rural district which includes the townships of Moapa and Logandale. No viable Democrat or third party challenger has filed to run for the seat, which means that the winner of the primary will be the final winner. Game over! Those waiting until November to vote will not have any say in the matter.
The Republican candidates running for District 36 are incumbent Assemblyman James Oscarson and challenger Dennis Hof. The two have been locked in a bloody battle for months now. It may well be the dirtiest race that Nevadans have ever seen in a primary. Both sides have been competing for which candidate can splatter the most mud on the other. Frankly, both sides are winning in that particular contest
Of course, none of this was hard to predict given that one of the candidates is the brothel-owning, reality TV show-producing, flamboyant and outspoken Hof. Just by nature, Mr. Hof seems to be a lightning rod for a fairly base and tawdry level of discourse. Of course, he is not the only one to blame in this case. But that inevitable fact follows him just because of his profession- and it will continue to do so.
We have heard from some readers who have been offended and appalled at the base level of back and forth campaign advertising between these two political rivals and their supporters. While this is, of course, regrettable, the Progress has hesitated to sensor the free speech of either side as long as it has not descended into outright profanity. We believe this has been, and always is, the right position for a newspaper to take.
In our content, though, the Progress has sought to stick carefully to the issues of the campaign. And when one examines the issues carefully, the choice seems very clear; at least for Moapa Valley voters.
While Mr. Hof seems to have his thumb on several hot-button issues that have set off many Nye County voters – mainly the Commerce Tax – he seems to be wholly unfamiliar with many substative issues that are most important to the myriad of rural communities in District 36; including, and especially, Moapa Valley.
Meanwhile, Mr. Oscarson knows these issues well. He is quite familiar with the rural people behind them. He has worked hard throughout his three terms as Assemblyman to meet the needs of his entire district, in addition to those of Pahrump. So setting aside all of the mudslinging, it really isn’t hard to determine that the candidate most deserving the support and votes of Moapa Valley (and Lincoln County) is Mr. Oscarson. As in the past, Assemblyman Oscarson wholeheartedly gets the endorsement of the Progress.
But despite the fact that this race seems an open-and-shut decision for us here in Moapa Valley, this election is still a very open conflict throughout the rest of the district. There are powerful forces at work in Pahrump, the main population center of the district, that are hard at work against Mr. Oscarson. Believe it or not, this one appears to be a very close election!
It was similar in 2016 when Oscarson was up against the then-Libertarian party candidate Hof in the general election. That time, it was the overwhelming support from Logandale and Moapa precincts that floated Oscarson to the top.
But this election is much different. This decision will be made by only Republican voters. Plus it will be done in a primary election when turnout is traditionally low. So the results could be even closer this time around.
This primary election is no laughing matter. It is the main show! It will all be over, one way or another, on June 12.
Now more than ever, it is of vital importance that the Republican voters in the Logandale and Moapa precincts turn out to vote in this election. If ever there was a time when you thought that your one vote didn’t matter, think again in this case! It may very well be that the whole thing in Assembly District 36 will hinge on a strong local turnout to the polls. It is once again likely that the Moapa Valley vote, or a lack thereof, will be the decider in the Assembly District 36 race.
There are plenty of opportunities to cast your ballot in the next couple of weeks. Don’t miss it!