Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder
Nevada District 03
Candidates are Susie Lee (D) and Danny Tarkanian (R). This is an open seat, current Representative Jacky Rosen having decided to run for the U.S. Senate.
Lee is a civic activist and philanthropist in and around Las Vegas. She has an MS in Public Management from Carnegie-Mellon University and has been a water resource consultant to a firm in Boston, then a policy advisor to the Mayor of Las Vegas. Education and Women’s issues are her top priorities. She has served as President of a state-wide organization to present school drop-outs and which serves 767,000 students in 63 schools. On guns, she wants to expand background checks, limit modification of weapons and to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, felons and people on the no-fly list. She says she’ll be a leader on environmental issues, including climate change, animal welfare and environmental justice. She wants to see comprehensive immigration reform and DACA recipients protected. She will work to increase funding for early childhood education, to protect Pell Grants and to insure that people can live a middle-class life without four years of college. She wants to help fix Obamacare and to have Medicare negotiate drug prices. She supports a woman’s right to choose, access to contraceptives and pay equity. She won 66% of the vote in her primary, which included 6 other Ds. She had $856,000 cash on hand in May. She is progressive, but cautious—no Medicare for All or banning assault weapons–and well-known around town.
Tarkanian has a BA degree in Business Finance from UNLV and a law degree from University of San Diego. He practiced law in his own firm for a few years, then became a perennial candidate for public office. He has run for the U.S. House at least twice, U.S. Senate, State Senate and NV Secretary of State, losing every race. He has a real estate office and is owner of the Tarkanian Basketball Academy. He is the son of long-time UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. He sounds like a far-right ideologue and is a “fierce supporter” of Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda. He is pro-life, against funding of Planned Parenthood, pro school vouchers, pro total repeal of Obamacare, pro concealed carry reciprocity, defends the Second Amendment without compromise, believes Government “IS the problem,” believes that we spend too much on Social Security and Medicare, is pro-Wall and wants all illegal aliens to leave the country “IMMEDIATELY.” He won his primary with 44% of the vote, but he was running against 8 other Rs. He had $702,000 cash on hand in May.
Description of District: This district is Nevada south of Las Vegas. It includes the City of Henderson and is mostly urban. It was designed to be equally R and D, and its citizens have voted that way, with victories by Rs and Ds alternating regularly. Trump beat Hillary by 1% in 2016. Its HMI is $61,000 and it is 68% White, 8% Black, 12% Asian and 15% Hispanic. It has a PVI of R+2, but Cook says that it “leans D” in 2018.
Summary: Tarkanian is so out-front with his ideology as well as a proven loser in many political contests that one would think he’d have little chance. But his name is very well-known in the area, and he almost beat Jacky Rosen in the race to represent this district in the U.S. House in 2016. Obviously, Lee is a far superior candidate. She deserves and needs our support.
Nevada District 04
Candidates are Steven Horsford (D) and Cresent Hardy (R)
Horsford is an African-American from North Las Vegas. He represented this district in Congress for one term from 2013-2015, after having served in the State Senate for eight years, where he rose to be Majority Leader. He has been President and CEO of Nevada Partners, a sustainable community development organization in North Las Vegas. He serves on many non-profit boards and is also CEO of the Culinary Institute of Las Vegas. He had some legal problems relating to debt he owed, but he is said to have resolved them. He won his contested primary with 62% of the vote. He is pro-choice and against de-funding Panned Parenthood, worried about the cost of higher education, wants affordable healthcare for everyone but won’t commit to Medicare for All, opposes the Wall, thinks that Trump should be impeached, supports a $15/hr. minimum wage, is against turning over federal lands in NV (roughly 85% of the land in the state) to the state, opposes the federal tax cut bill and is against the use of Yucca Mountain for storage of nuclear waste. He seems a well-connected moderate/progressive and had $66,000 in cash on hand in May.
Hardy is a small businessman from Mesquite, NV, about 80 miles NE from Las Vegas. He has a degree from Dixie State University. He has been a two-term member of the State Assembly and was the congressional representative from 2015-2017, beating Horsford by 3 points. He was the Director of Mesquite Public Works for seven years and a member of the Mesquite City Council. Information on his position on the issues he has faced in Congress and would again have to face should he win his race this fall is sparse. He does not support Obamacare, believes we must “immediately” balance the federal budget and return control over education to states and local governments. He likes vouchers and charter schools. He seems like a run-of-the-mill conservative with little obvious knowledge of the details of the big issues, even though he has faced them before. He had $24,000 cash on hand in May.
Description of District: Newly created after the 2010 census, this district is in central Nevada and has a long border with Utah. It covers a large chunk of sparsely-populated Nevada, but almost 90% of its voters live in North Las Vegas. The ethnic background data provided online totals an impossible 128%, but it appears that the district is mostly White, with healthy percentages of Hispanics and Blacks in North Las Vegas. It has a PVI of D+3 and is “likely D” this fall. Hillary beat Trump by 5 points in 2016.
Summary: Given the demographics of this district, Horsford should win this race, but Hardy beat him four years ago. Horsford will have to work to pull this one off, but he should know that.