Those few registered Democrats who bothered to vote in Tuesday’s primary might have been driven more by dissatisfaction with the party choices for governor than optimism about the slew of candidates on the ballot. In what appeared to be a protest vote over the lack of a strong challenger to GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, more Democrats opted for “None Of These Candidates” over the eight actual individuals running for the party nomination. Despite U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s pronouncement that a credible party-backed candidate would file against Sandoval, no such individual sought the office. Sandoval is expected to win re-election easily this fall. The “none” ballot option was picked by nearly 30 percent of Democratic voters, edging out Las Vegas resident Bob Goodman, who pulled about 25 percent of the vote. The other seven candidates lagged well behind. Goodman will be the party choice on the Nov. 4 general election ballot, however. Goodman ran Nevada’s economic development program under the late Gov. Mike O’Callaghan.
The secretary of state’s office reported that in 1976, the “none” selection beat out two Republicans seeking Nevada’s only congressional seat in the primary. “None” received 16,097 votes to candidates Dart Anthony, who received 8,097 votes, and Walden Earhart, who received 9,831 votes.
A report from then-Secretary of State Dean Heller also identified three other races where “none” won: A 1978 GOP congressional primary, a 1978 Republican secretary of state primary and a Democratic treasurer’s primary in 1986.
Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said he was shocked when the early returns suggested that the choice would outperform all of the actual candidates.
The reasons are twofold, he said. First was the total lack of knowledge most voters had about the candidates, none of whom spent any real money to raise their name recognition.