POLITICS

Steady Turnout in Nevada

Bob Billeter combines a field of barley near Kalispell, Mont.,  Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2002. Billeter said he hopes to finish the 50-acre field and have the straw baled before expected wet weather moves into the area. (AP Photo/Daily Inter lake, Robin Loznak)

Bob Billeter combines a field of barley near Kalispell, Mont., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2002. Billeter said he hopes to finish the 50-acre field and have the straw baled before expected wet weather moves into the area. (AP Photo/Daily Inter lake, Robin Loznak)  (AP2002)

A steady number of voters have been turning up at the ballot box in Nevada, where the senate contest is one of the nation’s most closely watched races.

With about 100,000 election day ballots cast as of 3 p.m. in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, turnout was close to 53 percent in the state's most populous region.

Election chiefs in Nevada's two most populous counties and state and federal law enforcement officials reported no major problems at the polls, which close at 7 p.m.

In Reno, Washoe County Registrar of Voters Dan Burk called voting steady and expected turnout of up to 65 percent, spokeswoman Brooke Keast said.

In and around Las Vegas, nearly 290,000 of almost 737,000 registered voters cast ballots early or by mail, according to Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax.

The headline race was between Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican tea party-backed challenger Sharron Angle. She emerged as the surprise victor from a crowded GOP primary field of 12 candidates to try to deny Reid a fifth term.

Reid and Angle and their supporters have spent more than $50 million in a campaign marked by stinging attack ads.

Reid has framed Angle as a "wild" and "extreme" legislator who would dismantle Social Security and force pregnant rape victims to have the baby.

Angle portrayed Reid as an ally of child molesters and illegal immigrants.

Polls have consistently shown the race too close to call.

The Senate majority leader isn't the only Reid name on the ballot.

His son, Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, is in an uphill race for governor against Republican Brian Sandoval, who left a lifetime appointment as a federal judge last year to challenge incumbent GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Sandoval defeated Gibbons by a two-to-one margin in the primary, making Gibbons the first sitting governor in Nevada history to lose a nominating contest.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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