Nevada is one of the top 10 states that are most likely to see a change in party control in one or both state legislative chambers after elections on November 6. The Nevada Senate has flipped between Democratic and Republican control three times in the past five election cycles, and 2018 could see another change. Democrats won a slim 11-10 majority in 2016, grabbing control of the upper chamber from the GOP, which had held a one-seat advantage the previous session.
The Nevada Senate staggers its members’ four-year terms. Voters will elect 11 of the 21 seats this November, two of which are currently vacant (Senate Districts 9 and 21). Of the 11 seats up for election this year, three seats are held by Democrats (Districts 2, 10, 13), five seats are held by Republicans (Districts 12, 14, 16, 17, 20) , and a single seat is held by Independent Patricia Farley (District 8). Farley was elected in 2014 as a Republican, but began caucusing with Democrats in 2016, a move that prompted Republicans to seek her recall, an effort which ultimately failed. With Farley caucusing with Democrats, Republicans will need to pick up at least two seats, essentially all of the toss up seats, to take control of the legislature.
Governor Brian Sandoval (R) is term-limited and cannot run for a third term. Republicans have controlled the governor’s mansion for nearly two decades in Nevada. This year, Democrat Steve Sisolak, a Clark County Commissioner, is locked in a tight battle in the governor’s race with Republican Adam Laxalt, the current Nevada attorney general. Laxalt’s campaign received an initial boost from a strong endorsement from President Trump in June, but the race has since narrowed and is neck-and-neck in the latest polls.