Republican Assemblyman Cresent Hardy won Tuesday’s hottest congressional primary, beating his tea party opponent Niger Innis by about 10 percentage points.
“I appreciate that Niger jumped in and fought hard,” Hardy said after the Associated Press called him the winner of the race. “I’m proud to say the voters supported me and they’re looking for a change in Washington, D.C.”
The Democratic incumbent, freshman U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., easily defeated his little known primary opponent, Mark Budetich, by nearly 80 percentage points in the 4th Congressional District.
Horsford will face Hardy in the Nov. 4 general election.
Hardy, R-Mesquite, was backed by Nevada’s top Republicans, including Gov. Brian Sandoval and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in the GOP contest for the 4th District, which covers northern Clark County and six rural counties.
A two-term assemblyman and businessman, Hardy is a fifth-generation Nevadan, a fact he highlighted during the competitive campaign, portraying himself as an every-man candidate who would bring common sense to Washington.
Innis, an outsider and conservative civil rights activist, moved to Las Vegas from New York in 2007.
“If these numbers hold up, the biggest winner tonight is Steven Horsford,” Innis said, refusing to concede.
Innis’ campaign team chalked up the results to competing against a “career politician.”
Innis also said he planned to ask Secretary of State Ross Miller to investigate the candidacy of Mike Monroe, a Republican contender who finished third behind Innis with more than one-fifth of the vote. Innis questioned whether Monroe had filed all the proper papers to run, including campaign disclosure documents.Although Monroe didn’t campaign heavily or debate, he has run for Congress twice before, giving him greater name recognition with some voters.
After the polls closed, Hardy and his campaign team burst into smiles and slapped high-fives when early voting returns from Clark County gave the candidate a healthy lead, which he held throughout the night.
Hardy said he will “hit the ground running” Wednesday in what he said would be an uphill battle in unseating Horsford.
“The people are tired of the partisan bickering,” Hardy said. “It is time for those personal ambitions in Washington, D.C., that leave behind what is good for the health of the hard-working people of the state of Nevada to end.”
Horsford signaled he would reach out to his diverse constituents, urban and rural, to win re-election.
“I welcome the opportunity to reach out to all the voters in Nevada’s 4th, regardless of party, to share our vision for creating jobs, growing the economy and expanding economic opportunity for all Nevadans,” Horsford said.
Horsford is the favorite to win re-election in November since his district leans heavily Democratic. But in a low turnout election the GOP nominee could have a chance, especially if Republican voters show up in force in rural parts of the district.
Other CD4 candidates who will run in the Nov. 4 general election are Libertarian Steve Brown and Russell Best of the Independent America Party.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 1:
Although the GOP primary race in the 1st Congressional District received little attention, two Hispanic candidates battled for the Republican nomination to the urban Las Vegas district, which is 43 percent Latino by population.
Dr. Annettee Teijeiro won, leading Jose Padilla by 10 percentage points with half the vote in.
“Maybe we need someone who grew up that district,” said Teijeiro, who was raised in Las Vegas.
The GOP winner will face a tough general election against incumbent U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., whose district is about 2-to-1 Democratic by party registration. Titus easily defeated her Democratic primary foe Herbert Glenn Peters.
In the November general election, other CD1 contenders will include Libertarian Richard Charles and Kamau Bakari of the Independent American Party.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 3:
Erin Bilbray, who is backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., handily won the Democratic primary, competing in the 3rd Congressional District race against little known Zachary Campbell.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., faced no GOP primary challenger as he seeks re-election to a third term to represent the Southern Nevada district, which includes Henderson and Boulder City.
The general election contest between Heck and Bilbray will be the most competitive congressional race in the state since both candidates are expected to be well-funded and the district is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Outside moneyed interest groups also are expected to play a factor in the race.
“It is so important to me to have your support because I am not only running against Joe Heck but also the dark, outside special interest money,” Bilbray said in a speech to Democratic supporters Tuesday night.
In November, two independent candidates also will be on the ballot in the CD1 race, Steven St. John and David Goossen.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2:
In the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District in Northern Nevada, Incline Village attorney Kristen Spees won, leading her three opponents with more than one-third of the vote. Her competition included Reno physician Vance Alm, Gardnerville store clerk Brian Dempsey and Reno engineer Ed Lee.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., faced no GOP primary challenger. Amodei is favored to win re-election on Nov. 4 because Republicans enjoy a 10 percentage point advantage in voter registration over Democrats in the district.
In November, Independent American Party candidate Janine Hansen also will be on the ballot in the CD2 race.
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj. Reporters Arnold Knightly and James DeHaven contributed to this story.