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Politics and Policy

A Look At Congressional Races In Southern Nevada

Yvonne Gonzalez
Yvonne Gonzalez has been reporting for the Las Vegas Sun since early 2017.

Nevada is made up of four congressional districts, three of which comprise most of the southern and central part of the state. Races to fill those seats are in full swing. To learn more about what’s at stake for our southern neighbors, KUNR’s Holly Hutchings talked to Yvonne Gonzalez, political reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.

The race is on in Nevada’s congressional districts, three of which lie outside Northern Nevada, and these contests are making news. Yvonne Gonzales has been covering politics for The Sun for nearly two years, most recently keeping her eye on the congressional bids.  She says along with the volunteers and officials who have a direct hand in elections and voter registration, election reporting can be one of the most important resources for residents to register to vote, then be equipped to navigate the voting booth.

Congressional District 3

One race that is getting attention for its exciting nature is in Congressional District 3, where Republican Danny Tarkanian is running against Democrat Susie Lee to fill the vacancy left by Jacky Rosen, who is now running for US Senate. One of the issues they’ve been fighting on is education. Gonzalez says the candidates have blasted one another over their differences on that subject quite publically, taking jabs at one another's position, and even how they send their own kids to school. Tarkanian is a proponent of school choice, while Lee is an advocate for public-private partnerships.

Gonzales says this race is interesting for its neck-and-neck nature, as well as Tarkanian’s involvement after initially setting his sights on Heller’s US Senate seat.

“The whole reason he's in this race is because he was basically urged not to put an already at-risk senator Dean Heller at an even greater risk in a really difficult primary," Gonzalez said. "And that primary was really, really brutal until Donald Trump gave Danny Tarkanian a call. The GOP margin is so, so slim in the senate that it's really, really important that incumbents are running for their seats.”

Congressional District 4

Another candidate aligning himself with President Trump is Cresent Hardy, Republican nominee in District 4. Gonzales says Hardy attended a rally for Trump recently where the excitement was palpable. She said republicans were not just happy to be in a room together, but the tone was also boisterous. Hardy served as representative for this district from 2015-2017. He is running against Steven Horsford, who touts health care as one of primary concerns, noting his own personal health care story in dealing with heart problems. Horsford served as the representative for this seat previously, from 2013-2015. He won the seat when the district was in its infancy, and he bested Danny Tarkanian to be the first representative in it. He then lost the seat to Cresent Hardy in 2014.

This rematch will be an interesting one as the candidates fight to fill a seat currently held by Ruben Kihuen, who has been embattled by sexual harassment allegations. Both candidates are previous congressmen who want to hold the title again in this unique district that covers northern Clark County and into central Nevada.

"It has a lot of different kinds of candidates and diversity," Gonzales said. "It's an interesting district. You have a lot of those bread and butter issues that matter to people, like 'Can I have access to health care?' and 'Are the streets safe?' and 'How is the police force running?,' and these kinds of things. That's really important to voters in CD4, as well as immigration issues in addition to that because of the high number of minority populations there."

The race is tight, and Gonzalez says it come down to one thing.

"It's really, really going to hinge on turnout," Gonzalez said. "What you're seeing this cycle is a surge in progressive enthusiasm. You're seeing a surge in youth voters. There's going to be an interesting race there in terms of how turnout tips the scales for which candidate."

Congressional District 1

District 1 that covers the center of the Las Vegas valley is currently held by Democrat Dina Titus, who is expected to sail easily into another victory this election cycle. Gonzalez says that Titus has lamented in the media about not going after Dean Heller’s senate seat herself. She has served in District 1 since 2013, and before that served in District 3 from 2009-2011.


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