A brief overview of Nevada’s congressional district races

By: - October 7, 2020 5:15 am
nobody should be proud here

Stills from Susie Lee and Dan Rodimer’s campaign ads.

With attacks being fired back and forth, the race between Democratic incumbent Rep. Susie Lee and Republican candidate and former wrestler Dan Rodimer to represent the 3rd Congressional District has already been intense.

The seat is also the most competitive of Nevada’s four congressional races. Lee is a Democrat representing a district Donald Trump won in 2016 — one of only 31 members of the House to do so in 2018.

Lee, who launched a six-figure ad buy in September, has put much of her focus on Rodimer’s legal troubles, which include 911 calls in 2018 from Rodimer’s girlfriend, who is now his wife, alleging domestic violence as well as allegations of business fraud in 2011. Neither 911 call ended with an arrest nor were charges filed, and Rodimer’s wife, Sarah, has filmed a campaign ad pushing back against the negative ad.

The Nevada State Democratic Party has also launched ads and a website called “Big Dan, Bigger Problems” highlighting Rodimer’s history, including a 2010 incident at a Waffle House in Florida where he was arrested for an alleged battery.

Meanwhile, Rodimer has attacked Lee’s ethics after her husband’s gaming business received millions in loan money from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was part of the coronavirus relief funding passed in March. The entire Nevada delegation, including Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, lobbied in the spring for gaming businesses to become eligible for assistance after originally being excluded.

Lee has pushed back against any wrongdoing or potential conflict of interest and said she wasn’t involved in the loan approval process.

Being in a competitive district, Lee has touted bipartisan efforts in Congress as a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats working on key issues.

Amid a tough campaign, Rodimer has received praise and support from national Republicans, including President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, who campaigned alongside Rodimer in September.

Republicans, who are working to reclaim the seat, held on to the district for years until 2016 when then-political newcomer Jacky Rosen won against Danny Tarkanian by almost 4,000 votes.

When Rosen ran for Senate in 2018, Lee, who previously lost the 2016 primary against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen in Congressional District 3, faced off against returning candidate Tarkanian.

She won the seat by more than 25,000 votes.

Lee has out fundraised Rodimer, according to June campaign finance reports from the Federal Elections Commission. The report showed Lee, who has raised $3.1 million, had $2.3 million in cash on hand at the time while Rodimer, who raised $883,836, had $254,413.

Consistent representation

From the time it was created in 2010, the 4th Congressional District has not had consistent representation. 

But Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, who first won the seat in 2012 against Tarkanian, is seeking re-election in 2020. If he wins, it will be the first time a political party has held representation for two consecutive terms.

Horsford faces Republican Jim Marchant, who served one term in the Nevada Legislature before being defeated in 2018.

In 2014, Horsford lost his first re-election to Cresent Hardy, a year when Republicans also swept every statewide office and won control of both houses of the Nevada Legislature. 

The district flipped again in 2016 when Ruben Kihuen ousted Hardy by a little more than 10,000 votes. After allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in 2017 resulting in a House Ethics Committee investigation, Kihuen opted not to seek re-election in 2018. 

Horsford returned and faced Hardy once again, this time winning by almost 20,000 votes. 

Meanwhile, sitting in a safe seat, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Dina Titus is facing off against Republican Joyce Bentley for the second time in Congressional District 1.

Titus won against Bentley in 2018 by more than 53,000 votes.

Titus originally represented the 3rd Congressional District in 2009 and 2011 before being defeated by Joe Heck. She has held her seat in Congressional District 1 since 2013. 

Similarly, Congressional District 2, which represents the rural parts of Nevada, has long been a Republican stronghold. 

Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, who has held on to the seat since a special election in 2011, is facing Democratic candidate Patricia Ackerman.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.