Nevada's 2nd congressional district election, 2006
|Elections in Nevada|
|None of These Candidates|
The 2006 Nevada 2nd Congressional District Election was held on November 7 to elect a representative from the Nevada's 2nd congressional district, which covers all of Nevada outside Clark County, and some parts of Clark County. Republican Party candidate Dean Heller won the election. It was an open seat because the incumbent, Republican Jim Gibbons, made a successful run for governor.
A bitterly contested Republican primary on August 15, 2006 was won by Secretary of State Dean Heller. The Democratic nominee, Jill Derby, Regent for the Nevada System of Higher Education, had no primary opposition.
In late August, CQPolitics.com analyzed the race: "Although the 2nd District generally leans Republican, Derby's competitive position in the general election was already strengthened by the fact that she was unopposed in the Aug. 15 Democratic primary while the Republicans staged a bruising battle among three well-known candidates."
Representatives are elected for two-year terms; the elected representative began serving in the 110th United States Congress from January 3, 2007, with a term running to January 3, 2009.
Jill Derby had no opposition for the Democratic nomination.
On the Republican side, there was a "fiercely contested and often bruising" five-way race. The two major candidates other than Heller were state assemblywoman Sharron Angle and former state Representative Dawn Gibbons, wife of the outgoing incumbent. The Club for Growth poured in over $1 million backing Angle and ran ads attacking both Heller and Gibbons as being "liberal" and in favor of tax increases.
The official results were:
|Sharron E. Angle||24,349||35.29%|
Refusal to concede
After the primary, Angle refused to concede, complaining of voting irregularities that disenfranchised many voters in her popular home base of Washoe County, which includes Reno and is by far the district’s most populous and vote-rich jurisdiction. Rather than calling for a recount — the typical route for candidates who challenge close election outcomes — Angle demanded to have the entire primary invalidated and held again. CQPolitics.com noted "Some have charged Angle’s decision to call for a special primary was based on economics: Had she demanded a recount, Angle would have been responsible for the cost of the procedure unless the result vindicated her request for it. That would not be the case if the courts were to order a primary do-over." 
Exacerbating the disunity of the Nevada GOP, Nevada's Republican Party chairman, Paul Adams, announced his support for Angle's court challenge.
At a September 1 state court hearing, District Judge Bill Maddox rejected Angle’s request on grounds that the state court lacks jurisdiction in congressional elections. According to Maddox, only the U.S. House of Representatives has standing to call for a new election. At that point, Angle conceded the race.
The bruising GOP primary, as compared to the Democratic situation, was reflected in the cash reserves reported by each candidate in their pre-primary filings with the Federal Election Commission. Derby had $444,000 on hand as of July 26, out of $748,000 raised. Heller had $260,000 left (with 20 days left to go before the actual primary) out of $904,000 in total receipts, which included $108,000 in funds from his personal accounts.
Polls and ratings
The Las Vegas Sun, quoting University of Nevada, Reno political scientist Eric Herzik, noted that the intra-fighting has given the Democratic Party a chance in this otherwise Republican leaning district. "Jill Derby was already doing everything right, and then she gets this gift," he said. "How do you turn a safe district into a competitive one? Fight among yourselves. Republicans here have won because they've stayed united and they continue to turn out. Now you've got partisan infighting, and Adams' leadership is aiding and abetting that - in an already bad year for Republicans."  Prior to Derby's run, the Democrats had only made one serious bid for the seat, in 1992.
In early September, CQPolitics.com rated this race as Leans Republican  In early October, CQPolitics.com rated it as Republican Favored
A Mason-Dixon poll has shown Heller with a slight edge, but within the margin or error, leading 45% to 42%.
|Source||Date||Derby (D)||Heller (R)||Undecided|
|Las Vegas Review Journal||September 25, 2006||42%||45%|
Heller defeated Derby 51%-45% in what usually is a very Republican district. Derby won Washoe County, which casts about 70% of the 2nd's vote. However, Heller was able to win the rest of the district (including its small share of Clark County) by a wide enough margin to overcome Derby's margin of victory in Washoe. Heller was undoubtedly helped by the presence of Gibbons atop the ballot; Gibbons carried the 2nd by a landslide margin.
There are three non-major party candidates in the race:
- James Krochus, Independent American Party
- Scott Babb, Libertarian
- Daniel Rosen, Independent
- Marie Horrigan (August 28, 2006). "Fight Over GOP Nod in Nevada 2 Could Help Democrat's Bid". CQPolitics.com.
- Marie Horrigan (August 16, 2006). "Heller Appears to Have Won GOP Primary in Nevada's 2nd". CQPolitics.com.
- "Primary Elections (August 15, 2006)". State of Nevada, 2006 Official Statewide Primary Election Results, August 15, 2006.
- Michael J. Mishak and J. Patrick Coolican (August 30, 2006). "What was Paul Adams thinking?". Las Vegas Sun.
- Marie Horrigan (September 5, 2006). "Heller's Win in Nevada 2 GOP Primary Becomes Official". CQPolitics.com.
- Las Vegas Review Journal Poll in late September