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Ruben Kihuen to run for Las Vegas City Council

Updated January 15, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Former U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen announced Tuesday that he will run for Las Vegas City Council, inserting intrigue and another former lawmaker into the race for a downtown district.

“I’m ready to continue serving the people of Nevada,” the Democrat said in a Twitter post that was in both Spanish and English.

Kihuen will seek the Ward 3 seat being vacated by Councilman Bob Coffin, who is not running for re-election.

Kihuen represented Nevada’s 4th Congressional District for one term, but did not seek re-election last year after he was accused of sexual harassment.

He did not respond to a message left Tuesday.

In a video accompanying his social media post, Kihuen is seen hammering a steel post as he puts up a Spanish-language campaign sign on the roadside during inclement weather: “It may be raining out here, but the rain’s not going to stop us.”

It has been long-rumored that the former lawmaker might seek a seat on the nonpartisan council, but he has stayed quiet about plans and routinely not returned phone calls. Last month, he filed a political organization form with the IRS, establishing “Ruben Kihuen for Las Vegas.” That would enable Kihuen to transfer money from his federal election campaign to a Nevada-based campaign.

A one-time rising star who was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2006 and Congress in 2016, Kihuen’s career in Washington was punctuated by the November release of a House Ethics Committee report. It found he violated the congressional code of conduct by unwanted verbal and physical advances to two women during his campaign for Congress.

A Nevada lobbyist also testified to the committee about similar claims dating back to Kihuen’s tenure in the state Legislature. The accusations levied by the three women were deemed credible, according to the report by the committee, which sanctioned Kihuen for misconduct.

“I extend my sincere apologies to each of these women,” Kihuen said in a statement at the time.

He joins a race that includes a former state assemblywoman, Olivia Diaz, and at least four others who have declared intentions to run: Veterans Affairs project manager Melissa Clary; former Las Vegas parks commissioner David Lopez; special education teacher Aaron Bautista; and political newcomer Shawn Mooneyham.

The official candidate filing period is Jan. 22 through Feb. 1.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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