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Congressional incumbents Lee, Horsford hanging on in competitive races

Updated November 4, 2020 - 3:28 am

All four of Nevada’s congressional representatives were up for re-election Tuesday, with two competitive contests at the southern tip of the state gathering national attention.

Preliminary, unofficial election results showed all four incumbents leading over their prospective challengers as early Wednesday morning.

In all, about 1.19 million votes had been counted statewide as of Wednesday morning.

The focus for both parties was on the 3rd and 4th districts, where Democratic Reps. Steven Horsford and Susie Lee faced Republican challengers with seven-figure campaign bank accounts and the public backing of President Donald Trump.

As expected, both contests were close as of Wednesday morning.

Lee led Republican Dan Rodimer by just 1.5 percent, with a little over 48 percent to Rodimer’s nearly 47.

Horsford led Republican Jim Marchant by a slightly wider margin, 50 percent to 47. These numbers did not include any votes counted in rural Lincoln County, which only has about 3,000 registered voters.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei was heavily favored against Democrat Patricia Ackerman, who outraised recent Democratic challengers in the largely Republican 2nd District. Amodei leads 57 percent to 41. The Associated Press called the race for Amodei late Tuesday night.

Rep. Dina Titus, the Democratic dean of the delegation, held a commanding, 27-point lead over Republican Joyce Bentley, who did not raise money. The Associated Press immediately called the race for Titus.

3rd District

The race for Nevada’s 3rd District, which encompasses part of Las Vegas and suburbs Henderson and Boulder City, was by far the state’s most contentious.

Just before midnight on Election Day, Lee’s campaign released a statement noting a record number of Nevadans voted in 2020 and urging patience.

“While we know everyone is anxious to get results, we will patiently wait for every vote to be counted,” the campaign said. “With the majority of votes in, we feel confident that Susie Lee will maintain her current lead and is in a strong position to win re-election to Congress.”

Lee and Rodimer, a small-business owner and former professional wrestler, collectively spent more than $6 million in campaigns punctuated by politically bludgeoning ads.

Lee’s ads focused on past 911 calls, including several from his now-wife, alleging violence or threats from Rodimer. He said the recent domestic calls and previous assault complaints never led to a conviction, but he did attend an anger management course as part of a deferred prosecution program on a 2010 battery charge.

The freshman congresswoman also stressed her bipartisan record and willingness to buck her own party’s leadership if needed. Her district is Nevada’s true swing district, having elected Democrats in both 2016 and 2018 despite narrowly favoring Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

She raised more than $4.3 million and spent most of it, while Rodimer raised $2.7 million and spent $2.2 million. The Cook Political Report gave Lee the slight edge, rating the race as “lean Democratic.”

Rodimer accused Lee of corruption, saying she used the expanded Paycheck Protection Program to bail out her husband’s casino businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Lee has said changes to the program that allowed gaming companies to apply saved 40,000 businesses and 500,000 jobs in her home state.

Rodimer has also promised to bring jobs back to a state hit extraordinarily hard by the pandemic, and he has pledged to be a close congressional ally for Trump, who is also up for re-election.

4th District

Horsford, the former majority leader in the state Senate, faced off against another former state legislator in Marchant for a sprawling district that includes part of Las Vegas and all or part of six other counties.

Although also viewed nationally as a competitive race — Cook rates it as “likely Democratic” — the 4th did not see the fireworks present in the 3rd, just to its south.

Horsford raised about $3.2 million and spent about $2.2 million to stress what he said was his daily work for Nevada’s workers and small businesses during the pandemic. He wrote or co-sponsored portions of existing aid packages and proposed several more bills.

Marchant, a former assemblyman and small businessman, raised nearly $1.4 million and spent most of it campaigning throughout the district’s smaller, more conservative counties.

He has stressed his fiscal conservatism and praised Trump’s efforts on taxes and the economy while also attempting to paint Horsford as a “socialist liberal.”

1st District

Titus released a statement on election night: “I am humbled to have once again earned the support of my constituents. Representing District 1 in Washington is the honor of my life. Southern Nevadans are hurting badly right now, and I will do everything in my power to provide relief.”

She spent most of the cycle campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as well as her fellow Nevada Democrats.

2nd District

Amodei raised just shy of $1 million and spent some $820,000, compared with Ackerman’s nearly $400,000 raised and $350,000 spent.

The Northern Nevada district favors a Republican, but Ackerman has run an active campaign boosted late by high-level Democratic surrogates’ visits to Washoe County to push voters to the polls for Biden.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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