Voting for No One
Nevadans head to the polls in their state primary Tuesday and thousands will cast their gubernatorial vote for ‘None of these candidates’ – an option provided to the voters in primary and general elections for more than 40 years. The magic number to watch is whether the percentage of underwhelmed voters for either party reaches 10 percent. Over the decades, each time a party’s gubernatorial primary vote for ‘none of these candidates’ was 10+ percent the party was defeated in the general election. Republicans reached this unwanted mark in 1982 (19.2 percent), 1986 (22.2 percent), and 1990 (21.6 percent) and subsequently lost to nominees Richard Bryan (1982, 1986) and Bob Miller (1990). Democrats did so in 1998 (12.3 percent), 2002 (24.6 percent), 2010 (15.3 percent), and – most famously – 2014 (30.0 percent – besting every candidate) before losing to Kenny Guinn (1998, 2002) and Bryan Sandoval (2010, 2014).
Update: In sparsely-populated Esmeralda County, the “None of These Candidates” choice won a plurality over Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani. Giunchigliani received 10 votes in the county, and Sisolak (who won the primary state-wide) received 8 votes; both were bested by “None of These Candidates”, which received 12 votes.
And during 2014’s embarrassing gubernatorial primary for the Democrats, in only one of the state’s 17 counties did ‘None of These Candidates’ not receive the largest number of votes (Clark County – where Bob Goodman won with a 695-vote plurality).