Former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer was declared the winner Friday of the Republican nomination in Nevada’s 3rd District to face freshman Democrat Susie Lee as mail-in votes from Tuesday’s primary continued to be counted.
With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Rodimer was leading former state Treasurer Dan Schwartz, 46 percent to 31 percent, in a six-way contest when The Associated Press called the race.
In a state known for colorful characters, Rodimer certainly fits the bill. The former WWE wrestler turned lawyer ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2018 and had the backing of House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
Rodimer also had support from conservative groups, including the NRA and the National Right to Life. Super PACs spent at least $493,000 favoring Rodimer or opposing Schwartz.
Schwartz was unable to overcome the outside money in support of Rodimer, as well as what became persistent accusations that he was not conservative enough for the GOP primary electorate.
Lee was quickly declared the winner of the Democratic primary Tuesday when partial results showed her with 80 percent against two challengers. A Daily Beast report on Monday raised questions about her husband’s casino-affiliated business ventures getting access to federal aid for the coronavirus pandemic.
Lee, like other Nevada politicians, lobbied for the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration to allow businesses with significant revenue derived from gambling to get access to the Paycheck Protection Program to help keep workers on payrolls.
Republicans believe they have a chance at flipping the 3rd District, which narrowly backed Trump in 2016. But Lee won two years later by 9 points and had $2 million in her campaign account on May 20, compared with $220,000 for Rodimer.
Rodimer comes with baggage too. He has a past arrest for battery at a Waffle House in Naples, Florida, for which he has expressed regret. The charge didn’t lead to a criminal record, and opponents were unable to make it a real issue in the primary.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 3rd District race Likely Democratic.
Another GOP primary, to choose a challenger to Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in the 4th District, remained uncalled Friday afternoon. Horsford beat five competitors Tuesday, and had 75 percent of the vote with 64 percent of precincts reporting as of Friday.
On the Republican side, with 70 percent of precincts reporting as of Friday afternoon, former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant was leading an eight-candidate field with 34 percent, according to the AP. That put him about 1,500 votes ahead of Air Force veteran Sam Peters, who had 29 percent.
Inside Elections rates the 4th District race Solid Democratic.