Listen up, kids.
For months, a claim has been bouncing around Nevada journalism.
Laura Myers/Las Vegas Review Journal: “The last time the GOP controlled all of Nevada government was in 1929.”
Michael Green/Asseveration: “This marked the first time Republicans controlled all six statewide offices and both houses of the Legislature since 1929.”
Associated Press Carson City bureau: “Nevada Republicans heralded Nov. 4 as the start of a brave new world, with the party taking control of the Assembly, Senate and every constitutional office for the first time in state history.”
Nevada AFL-CIO news release: “In Nevada, for the first time since 1929, the Republican Party controls all Constitutional offices and both houses of the Legislature.”
Samantha Coachman/Huffing tonPost: “After Republicans took full control of the state's government for the first time since 1929 …”
The assertion even appeared here in the RN&R. We apologize to our columnist Sheila Leslie for not catching it when she referred to “a state government under complete Republican control for the first time since 1929.”
A writer named Mark Z. Barabbas at the Los Angeles Times came up with his own variant—that there has never been a Republican sweep in Nevada: “Republicans not only seized control of the Legislature—giving them full run of the capitol for the first time since 1929—but also staged an unprecedented sweep of statewide offices” (emphasis added).
OK, here's what we know about 1929. Yes, the Republicans took control of both houses of the Nevada Legislature, but no, they did not sweep all state government offices elected statewide. Democrats still held the statewide offices of secretary of state (William Greathouse, in his second term), attorney general (Michael Diskin, in his second term), and state printer (Joe Farnsworth, in his fifth term).
As best we can tell, the last time Republicans controlled both houses of the Legislature and all state government offices elected statewide was in 1890.
That included not just constitutional officers like governor, surveyor general, and supreme court justice (all partisan elections then), but also state government offices elected statewide that were created by statute, such as state printer and state school superintendent—a whopping 13 offices that all went Republican on a single date. And that doesn't include one federal office, the state's lone U.S. House member, which also went to the GOP.
In the Legislature that year, the Democrats were left with only two members of the 20-member Senate and five members of the 40-member Assembly.