Republican Joe Lombardo Unseats Nevada Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak

Nevada voters have chosen Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo to replace Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak rather than experience a second term under his leadership, the Nevada Independent projected on Friday night.

The Nevada Independent projected Lombardo’s victory several days after the midterm election, following vote counting delays in several counties. The New York Times shows Trump-endorsed Lombardo a little more than two points ahead of Sisolak, 49.2 percent to 47.0 percent with 93 percent of the vote counted. Lombardo is unseating the first Democrat to win the office since 1994.

Lombardo and Sisolak ran a close race throughout the entirety of their campaigns, with Lombardo pulling ahead by several points in the polls over the past few months. RealClearPolitics gave Lombardo a 2.8-point average lead over Sisolak by Election Day. 

Sisolak conceded soon after Lombardo’s projected victory, stating that while it is “not the outcome I want, I believe in our election system, in democracy and honoring the will of Nevada voters.”

Throughout his campaign, the state’s two-term top law enforcement officer honed in on crime and on Sisolak’s draconian leadership during the pandemic, which resulted in business closures, school closures, and learning losses, as well as inflation and border security. Sisolak, like many Democrats around the country, hoped to hedge his bets on the issue of abortion after the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision in June.

According to KTNV, Sisolak reported spending $13.6 million this year, and Lombardo reported spending $4.8 million in the final campaign contribution and expense reports. 

“Both reported more than $1 million to spend in the final weeks, and political committees have poured millions more into the race,” the report states. 

In the historically purple state, former President Donald Trump was not favored in the state in 2016 or 2020. President Joe Biden won the state by 2.4 percentage points in 2020. However, unaffiliated voters, which make up a large swath of Nevada voters, have been nationally leaning toward the GOP and are expected to have played a huge role in the outcome of the race. 

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