Republicans here in the suburban desert have begun recall campaigns against three Democratic state senators without giving an official cause, raising concerns nationally that they are using recalls to give the GOP the power to redraw legislative district lines after the 2020 elections. The recall campaigns, which are being challenged in court beginning Wednesday, target state senators who represent politically divided middle-class neighborhoods. The coordinated efforts began less than a year after the senators won election to four-year terms and rely on a Nevada law that allows voters to recall state officials without stating a reason. The campaign has drawn allegations from Democrats — and at least one high-ranking Republican, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval — that a provision designed to help voters hold elected officials accountable is being used to advance partisan goals. If successful, the test here could provide a model for other states that also allow recalls without any allegations of malfeasance.
That could change the balance of power as congressional and legislative districts are redrawn across the country. In states that, like Nevada, lack independent redistricting commissions, the party in control after the 2020 elections will oversee redistricting — a procedure that has often has included “gerrymandering” of boundaries to give one party an electoral advantage.
With control of Congress potentially at stake, Republican and Democratic organizations have promised resources to help shape the outcome of state races next year and in 2020, with a focus on Minnesota, Maine, New Mexico and Nevada. At the neighborhood level, the contest is already underway.
In the Desert Shores community, along Huber Heights and Surfwood Drive, residents have been besieged in recent weeks by petition efforts for and against the recalls. Voters in this western Las Vegas suburb are still recovering from the last election, and few have a firm grasp of what all the activity is about.