Democrats Lee, Horsford keep key Nevada US House seats blue

November 7, 2018 GMT
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Steven Horsford, Democratic candidate for Nevada's 4th Congressional District, speaks at an election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Steven Horsford, Democratic candidate for Nevada's 4th Congressional District, speaks at an election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Democrats retained control of three of Nevada’s four U.S. House seats Tuesday night, holding onto two key seats left open by departing Democrats in the western battleground state.

Like they did when they bucked the red wave that sent President Donald Trump to the White House two years ago, Democrats won all but the mostly rural 2nd District in northern Nevada where Republican Rep. Mark Amodei was easily re-elected to the seat he has held since 2011.

In southern Nevada, Democrat Susie Lee defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian in the 3rd District, and Democrat Steven Horsford beat Republican Cresent Hardy in a rematch of two former one-term congressmen in the 4th District.

First District Democratic Rep. Dina Titus of Las Vegas cruised to victory over underfunded Republican challenger Joyce Bentley in the safest blue district in the Western swing state that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Amodei’s Democratic challenger, Clinton Koble, picked up several labor endorsements but was outspent in the campaign by a 9-to-1 margin in the district no Democrat has ever won.

Lee, a 51-year-old Las Vegas philanthropist who raises money for education and disadvantaged women, raised $4.5 million and outspent Tarkanian by a 2-to-1 margin in the district made up of mostly suburban Las Vegas that Rep. Jacky Rosen left open enroute to knocking off Republican Sen. Dean Heller.

Horsford held the 4th District where Democratic incumbent Rep. Ruben Kihuen decided against seeking re-election in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct

“This victory does not belong to me. It belongs to the people,” Horsford told his backers at a victory party in Las Vegas. He declared health care “is a human right” and said, “It’s time to have the courage to do gun safety reform.”

Supporters of Lee sang “Happy Birthday” early Wednesday at the same gathering at a Las Vegas hotel-casino, where she was about 45 minutes into her 45th birthday.

“Despite what Republicans say, we are the party of family values because we value families,” Lee said. “We gotta repair this country, and the responsibility is huge. I’m up for it if you’re up for it.”

Both districts were important nationally to Democrats who were headed toward taking control of the House and trying to build on the margin.

Tarkanian, the 56-year-old son of legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, conceded defeat in a speech to his supporters in Las Vegas.

When asked if he would’ve done anything differently, Tarkanian said: “We did everything we could with the resources that we had.” He also did not specify if he would run again. He wants to go home and see his children.

Danny Tarkanian lost to Rosen by fewer than 4,000 votes in 2016. Tarkanian launched a bid earlier this year to unseat Heller in the GOP Senate primary but backed off under pressure from President Donald Trump and others.

Lee lost in the 2016 primary to Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen (KEE-hune) in the neighboring 4th District.

The 68-year-old Titus is a longtime political science professor. She served a term in the neighboring 3rd District before first winning her current seat in 2012. Bentley is a former Las Vegas businesswoman and real estate agent who didn’t report raising any money for her general election campaign.

In the 4th District, Horsford, 45, became the first African-American to represent Nevada in Congress in 2012 when the seat was created. Hardy, 61, a Republican, who defeated him in 2014 then lost to Kihuen in the last election.

The district stretches from north of Las Vegas through four rural counties in the western swing state that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried in her loss to President Donald Trump in 2016. It covers the southern and central portion of the state, including northern Clark County, stretching to the Utah line including White Pine County, also parts of Douglas and Lyon, all of Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral and Nye counties.

In 2016, Kihuen beat Cresent Hardy 48.5 to 44.5 percent in the district created in 2010.


Associated Press journalist Trey Arline in Las Vegas contributed to this report.