Published Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011 | 1:52 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011 | 10:16 p.m.
Democrat Kate Marshall has conceded the 2nd Congressional District race to Republican Mark Amodei.
With about 85 percent of precincts reporting, Amodei had 65,798 votes, or 58 percent, compared to Marshall's 41,603 votes, or 36 percent, according to the Nevada secretary of state.
"The voters of Nevada sent a message," Amodei told a cheering room of supporters. "That message unmistakably is: It's time to start a change."
At a Reno hotel-casino, meanwhile, Marshall told a group of about 50 supporters, "You expressed yourselves. You were a voice. I am humbled you did this in support of me. I honor you."
While registration numbers heavily favor Amodei over Marshall, voters were more unified in their disgust with politics in general, and the economy.
Scott and Jean Foster, 58, described themselves as conservative Republicans, and blame President Barack Obama and Democratic policies for failing to get the country's economy on track.
"Hopefully next year we can turn it around," Scott Foster said after voting at the Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Department in rural Douglas County.
A mathematician with degrees from MIT and Stanford, Foster said he's been unemployed for two years. Jean Foster, who holds a master's in business administration, has been without work since she was laid off from the Bank of America after 26 years.
"We both wish we were working," she said.
But Pat De Sota, a lifelong Democrat, took the GOP to task, saying they've failed to promote a viable plan for job growth.
"I feel people of Nevada most of the time vote against their own best interests," she said. "I'm a retired teacher, and Republicans have never done anything for educators at all."
Polls were set to stay open until 7 p.m. throughout most of the state, with results expected to be released later in the evening. Election officials have predicted low voter turnout, though in Carson City, Clerk Alan Glover said the pace was slow but steady.
He was hoping turnout in the capital city would exceed 40 percent.
"It's been a little better than originally hoped for," he said midafternoon.
Brief power outages caused by storms resulted in backup batteries kicking in on voting machines in the Nye County communities of Amargosa Valley and Beatty, Secretary of State spokesman Bob Walsh said.
No one lost their opportunity to vote, he said.
Amodei and Marshall are competing against two others to represent the sprawling 2nd Congressional District, a GOP-leaning region that covers all of rural Nevada and a slice of Clark County near Las Vegas.
The winner will replace former Rep. Dean Heller, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate in May after Republican John Ensign resigned amid a sex scandal.
Also on the ballot are Tim Fasano, an Independent American Party candidate, and Helmuth Lehmann, an independent businessman who gathered signatures to get on the ballot.
Amodei was seen as the front-runner as Election Day began. Of the more than 75,000 people who cast ballots in the early voting period, at least 40,000 were Republicans.
Amodei, a former state senator and state GOP chairman, has pledged to support a balanced budget amendment in Congress and signed an anti-tax pledge.
Marshall, the state treasurer, has been critical of Obama but supports his federal health care overhaul.
The campaign has been brief but heated. Marshall slammed Amodei for supporting tax increases as a state lawmaker and sought to portray him as a foe of Medicare in a series of TV attacks.
Amodei linked Marshall to Obama and other Washington Democrats unpopular with rural Nevada's Republican voters.
The winner will serve the remainder of Heller's term and would have to seek re-election in 2012 to keep the seat.
Las Vegas Sun reporter Anjeanette Damon contributed to this report.