Poker player folds bid for Congress

WASHINGTON — Professional poker player Frank Kassela on Monday folded his bid for Congress.

Frustrated by Republican positions on social issues and their handling of the government shutdown, Kassela switched his party registration and filed federal campaign paperwork on Oct. 24 to run for the U.S. House as a Democrat in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.

But almost exactly a month later, he said on Twitter he was dropping out “because I can’t commit the time away from my family and companies.” The announcement was confirmed by Stefan Nagey, an informal adviser.

Kassela, 45, who moved to Las Vegas from Tennessee in 2008, has won two World Series of Poker bracelets and has accumulated career poker earnings of more than $2.4 million. He also operated several companies, including one in Nevada that sells hospital scrubs to the medical industry.

“I wish @erinbilbray the best,” Kassela said in his tweet, referring to Democrat Erin Bilbray who is running against incumbent Republican Rep Joe Heck in the district that includes Henderson, Boulder City and unincorporated areas of southern Clark County.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow @STetreaultDC on Twitter


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