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Local News

This race could decide if Dems win a veto-proof Legislature

Naomi Duerr, left, and Angie Taylor. (Credit: Nevada Current)

Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
May 8, 2024

A Democratic veto-proof majority in the Nevada Legislature could come down to the race for Senate District 15, a previously Republican-held seat that was redrawn to give Democrats an advantage. 

The Nevada Senate Republican Caucus, which identified the Northern Nevada district as one of four seats it needs to win, said in a fundraising email this week that a Democratic legislative supermajority would result in “bad liberal policy.”

First-term Assemblywoman Angie Taylor, who has been endorsed by the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus and leads in fundraising among all the candidates, said she isn’t thinking about what policies could be passed if Democrats have enough votes in both the Senate and the Assembly to override Gov. Joe Lombardo’s vetoes in 2025. 

“When I’m knocking on doors you know what I’m not hearing? Supermajority,” Taylor said. “When I’m knocking on doors and talking to constituents, that’s not where they are focused on and that’s not what I’m focused on.”

Democrats hold 13 of 21 Senate seats, which is one shy of a two-thirds supermajority. 

Democrats already hold a supermajority in the Assembly, which Gov. Joe Lombardo and his fellow Republicans are hoping to break this election year.

Lombardo vetoed 75 bills, a record number in the 2023 session. 

The bill that were killed included modest tenant protections, rent protections for seniors for one year, funding for universal free lunch for K-12 schools, and health care coverage for pregnant undocumented women. 

Taylor said “there is an opportunity to bring some of those back if there is a supermajority in both houses” but added her attention is first on winning the primary.

“At the end of the day, supermajority or not, I want to win the seat and represent what’s best for people,” she said.  

The seat was previously held by Republican state Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert, who decided not to seek re-election. Democrats redistricted the seat along with Senate District 18 in 2021.

There are currently 31,466 registered active Democrats in SD 15, 26,521 registered active Republicans and 28,979 active nonpartisans. 

While the seat is seen as competitive, Democrat challengers have outraised Republicans. 

Taylor has raised $69,539 according to the most recent campaign finance report, while Democratic Reno City Councilwoman Naomi Duerr has raised $28,775 in an attempt to win the primary. 

The Republican caucus endorsed Mike Ginsburg over Sharron Angle, a former Assemblywoman who lost against Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in 2010. Angle also ran, and lost in the U.S. House Republican primary for Nevada’s 2nd congressional district in 2006 and again in 2018.

Ginsburg has raised $12,500 while Angle has raised $4,500

The third Republican candidate on the primary ballot, Charles Mark Nuemann, has reported no campaign contributions.

None of the Republican candidates responded to requests for comment.

State Senate Minority Leader Robin Titus said in an email this week that if Democrats obtain a veto-proof majority, it “will result in more ‘Ram-and-Jam’ marathons that we saw under the previous Democratic trifecta, indifferent to industry testimony or public concern.”

“The same bad liberal policy coming out of places like California and Oregon will be passed right here in Nevada, despite our state being split into even partisan thirds of Republicans, Democrats, and Nonpartisans,” she said

Duerr said she prefers to be a collaborator and “if I was asked to overturn a veto I would have to do my homework.”

Lawmakers, she added, could potentially look at a “sweep of bills that address housing, evictions and tenants rights” if they had a supermajority.  

‘Still work to do’

Taylor served on the Washoe County School Board for eight years. She resigned from the position when she was elected to the Assembly in 2022. 

With her background in education, she said she would want to reduce school classroom sizes and increase teacher pay. 

Lawmakers in 2023 approved Senate Bill 231, which allocated a $250 million matching fund designed to provide raises for educators and others employed by districts.

“I’m very proud to be part of the largest education increase in the history of our state,” she said. “As big of an increase as it is and as big of a step as it is, it doesn’t get us to the national average so there is still work to do.”

Taylor said the biggest concerns she has heard when knocking on doors has been around health care costs, including high prescription drug prices. She wants lawmakers to look at ways to address health care affordability and accessibility. 

“I’m a breast cancer survivor,” she said. “While I was diagnosed, a friend of mine was also diagnosed. I had better health coverage. We both beat it, thank God. But my experience was better than hers …. It shouldn’t be the case based on money.”

Duerr has served on the Reno City Council since 2014 but is termed out. 

If she wins the seat, she named affordable housing as one of her top priorities. The state, she said, should look at ways to limit “the rate rents can rise” specifically for seniors who lived on fixed incomes.

As a geologist with a background in water policy, she is said she would focus on addressing the climate crisis and water issues if she won the seat. She said the state should look at how it treats groundwater and surface water differently even though they are interconnected.

Similar to Taylor, she said fixing Nevada health care shortage, including lack of resources to address mental health, was a priority for her.

Duerr also wants to fix Nevada’s veterinarian shortage.

Animal shelters in Northern Nevada, she said, are backed up with requests for services including spay and neutering services and “the demand is very great.”  

If students leave Nevada to study veterinary medicine, she said the state could look for ways to entice them to come back. 

“Vets have huge education bills the same as doctors,” she said. “It would be great to come up with a way to defray their expenses if they come back to Nevada.”

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.