In Nevada's prime swing county, Republicans are significantly outpacing Democrats in early-voting turnout, according to official statistics — a potential sign of difficulty for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as he attempts to rally his base for his tough contest with Republican Sharron Angle.
Some 47 percent of early voters in Reno's bellwether Washoe County so far have been Republicans, while 40 percent have been Democrats, according to the Washoe County Registrar. Nearly 11,000 people had voted in Washoe over the first three days of early voting, which began Saturday.
Voter registration in the county is evenly split, 39 percent to 39 percent. The disproportionate turnout is a concrete indication of the Republican enthusiasm that is expected to portend a nationwide GOP wave.
In Nevada's large, urban Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, nearly 47,000 votes were cast in the first three days. The voters were 46 percent Democrats, 39 percent Republicans, according to the Clark County Election Department. But while Democrats make up 46 percent of the county's registered voters, Republicans constitute just 33 percent — another sign Republicans are voting out of proportion to their numbers.
In the 3rd Congressional District, where Democratic Rep. Dina Titus faces a challenge from Republican Joe Heck, the parties are nearly tied in early turnout despite Democrats' registration advantage. Early voters were 43 percent Democrats, 41 percent Republicans, while registration was 42 percent Democrats and 36 percent Republicans.
I'll post stories on my recent visit to Nevada--including insights on both the Sharron Angle and Joe Heck campaigns--later this week.