A retired educator backed by the casino industry won the GOP nomination for Nevada governor, setting up a race with the Democratic mayor of Las Vegas.
Florida also held primary elections Tuesday.Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, 49, won a nine-way Democratic gubernatorial primary, and was one of seven women nominated for top offices - a rarity in the male-dominated world of Nevada politics.
Jones, a breast cancer survivor, easily defeated her closest challenger, state Sen. Joe Neal, who was trying to be the state's first black governor.
Jones advanced to a general election battle against Republican Kenny Guinn. A pre-primary poll put her within 10 points of Guinn.
Guinn, 62, who served briefly as interim president of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, defeated challenger Aaron Russo by a margin of 58 percent to 26 percent.
Republicans have a slight edge in voter registration in Nevada, but the state has not elected a GOP governor in 20 years. Democratic Gov. Bob Miller is leaving after 10 years in office, constitutionally prevented from seeking a third full term.
In the GOP primary for Nevada's U.S. Senate seat, Rep. John Ensign trounced a political unknown and advanced to a November showdown against Democratic incumbent, Harry Reid.
In Florida, Republican Jeb Bush, son of former President George Bush, ran unopposed in the GOP primary for Florida governor. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay also faced no opposition. Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles is barred from seeking a third term.
Florida Sen. Bob Graham was unopposed in the Democratic primary in his bid for re-election. State Sen. Charlie Crist won the GOP nomination to challenge Graham.