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Reno Public Radio is providing coverage of several local and state political races for this year's elections.For a look at national elections, NPR has provided special online coverage. Click here to see those stories.

Washoe Dems respond to Republican landslide

As Republicans were celebrating last night, more than a hundred Washoe democrats gathered at a pizza joint in Reno. Despite the number of concession speeches their candidates ended up making throughout the evening, crowd members managed to keep up their energy and optimism.

"We really don't get down in the dumps. We just pull up our boots and start working on the next election."

That's Janice Flanagan, chairwoman for the Washoe County Democrats. The organization boosted its presence across the region this election season with more phone calls and door-to-door visits than in years past, but Flanagan says the lack of voter engagement within the party proved too powerful to overcome. She believes that if voters had dug more deeply into the issues by doing their homework and attending candidate forums, their choices may have been different.

"Unfortunately, at many of these voters forums, there are more candidates than there are voters sitting in the audience. It's very hard to get people out for any of these events."

But more than that, it was the national political climate, favoring Republicans, that hurt democrats here, especially its two rising stars Attorney General Candidate Ross Miller and Lieutenant Governor Candidate Lucy Flores.

A bright spot for Washoe County Democrats has been the success of two city council candidates. Even though the race was nonpartisan, both of the newest council members, Naomi Duerr and Paul McKenzie, are supported by the party.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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