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Roberson to run for Heck’s congressional seat

CARSON CITY — Nevada state Sen. Michael Roberson announced Wednesday that he is a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev. Heck announced his bid for Harry Reid’s U.S. Senate seat on Monday.

“I am running for Congress because we need common-sense leadership that works for the people and finds solutions to our nation’s problems,” said the Henderson Republican. “I am proud that in Nevada we’ve worked to diversify our economy, enact landmark school choice reforms, and streamline government to make it more efficient and effective.”

Roberson, who worked as Senate majority leader to help Gov. Brian Sandoval get his ambitious education and tax package through the 2015 legislative session, said the Washington, D.C., gridlock “has worn thin with voters, and I’m running to be part of the solution.”

“Congressman Joe Heck’s representation of District Three has been a model of excellence and I hope to achieve the same level of service,” he said. “I am committed to ensuring Southern Nevadans have their voices heard in the halls of the Capitol.”

Sandoval sent out a Tweet on his campaign account praising Roberson as “a proven leader and has fought for edu, jobs and a strong Nevada.”

Democrats were quick to pounce on the announcement.

Nevada State Democratic Party spokesman Zach Hudson released a statement on Roberson’s announcement, saying in part: “Under boss Roberson’s leadership, Senate Republicans proposed repealing the minimum wage from Nevada’s constitution, tried to gut overtime pay for Nevada workers, and killed legislation to help military families afford childcare.”

Hudson said Democrats will offer voters a clear alternative as the 2016 election season moves forward. There are no formally announced candidates for the seat yet.

One potential candidate who had been urged by supporters to consider a run, state Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said he would not be a candidate but instead will run for re-election to his Senate District 11 seat.

“I’m committed to helping my party retake the state Senate majority in 2016 so that we can renew our focus on the issues that will help grow Nevada’s middle class,” he said in a statement.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also released a statement, saying the district is one of the most competitive in the country and an opportunity for Democrats to pick up a seat in the GOP controlled Congress.

“Nevadans know Michael Roberson as nothing more than a political insider concerned with furthering his own ambitions and putting himself in the best position to serve his wealthy friends,” said Tyler Law of the Democratic campaign committee. “This swing district will be looking for a representative that puts hardworking middle-class families ahead of pay-to-play politics – Roberson certainly doesn’t fit that description.”

The 3rd Congressional District consists of Henderson, Boulder City and areas of Clark County south to Laughlin and west to California. The district is considered the state’s most competitive, with voter registration nearly equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.

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