Fittingly since this is the third in this series, I decided on Nevada’s third congressional district (NV-03). This one is marked as a toss up by most observers. The incumbent, Joe Heck, is attempting to move up to the Senate to take the spot that Harry Reid has occupied for ages.
The district equally divided. It has had a Republican Representative since 2010, even while twice voting for Obama. With an open seat, it really is anyone’s guess how NV-03 will go in November.
The primaries have been packed. Seven Republicans are running: Kerry Bowers, Michele Fiore, Sami Khal, Andy Matthews, Michael Roberson, Danny Tarkanian, and Annette Teijeiro. And six Democrats are too: Barry Michaels, Jacky Rosen, Jesse Sbaih, Steven Schiffman, Alex Singer and Neil Waite. What’s more, there is an Independent American Party candidate: Warren Markowitz.
The Democrats and Republicans are both pushing hard to get this seat. Both national party organizations have invested directly into several campaigns.
Republicans in NV-03
The Republican candidates of particular note are Michele Fiore, Michael Roberson, and Danny Tarkanian. All three are experienced campaigners. Michele Fiore and Michael Roberson are former state legislators. And Danny Tarkanian ran in the 4th District.
Of the three, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is the one who is best known. She’s gotten national attention for her love of guns, her outrage inducing statements, and her role in the Oregon Malheur National Wildlife Refuge stand-off. She is something of a libertarian — supporting marriage equality and cannabis legalization.
Michael Roberson has served as both Majority Leader and Minority Leader in the Nevada State Senate since 2010. He is a fairly conventional candidate and has raised the most money. He’s a member of the Republican Young Guns.
The third candidate, Danny Tarkanian, was the Republican nominee in the 4th Congressional District race in 2012. But he lost badly to Democrat Steven Horsford in the general election. He is also a member of the Young Guns.
Democrats in NV-03
Of them, the top candidate from the establishment is Jacky Rosen. She is the president of Congregation Ner Tamid, and was personally recruited by Harry Reid to run. In addition, Rosen has the support of the Democrats’ Red to Blue program as well as Emily’s List.
But Jacky Rosen has a serious challenger in Jesse Sbaih. He is generously self-funded, and is the first to have his ads up. Sbaih has an interesting backstory. He immigrated from Jordan with his family when he was 11 years old. Since then, he has become a very successful attorney. He’s also married to a physician with whom he has three children. He has been in the news, claiming that Harry Reid told him to not run because he is Muslim and that a Muslim couldn’t win in that district.
Outlook in NV-03
Since this is a fairly evenly split district, it is unclear who will win the primaries (next Tuesday). The Democratic primary has been quiet. The Republican primary, however, has been very contentious. Jon Ralston has been reporting on the various efforts from both sides. It looks like Roberson is benefiting from establishment support with a lot of SuperPac money.
Ultimately, if the establishment candidates win their primaries, the general election will be close. The April straw poll showed that it was almost exactly split between Rosen and Roberson. So it will be an interesting race to watch in November.