Former assemblyman Marchant will be Horsford’s challenger in November

Race called nearly a week after polls closed in Nevada

Rep Steven Horsford, D-Nev., now knows his general election challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep Steven Horsford, D-Nev., now knows his general election challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 15, 2020 at 5:51pm

Six days after the polls closed, former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant emerged victorious in the Republican primary to take on Rep. Steven Hosford in November.

Marchant prevailed in eight-candidate field in the 4th District, which is focused on the population center of Clark County, but includes a sprawling swath of rural Nevada.

The slow reporting of results because of the abundance of absentee ballots, which were valid if they were postmarked by Election Day, may be a sign of things to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has been making mail-in and absentee voting more and more common across the country.

Marchant had 34.5 percent of the vote with 87 percent of precincts reporting Monday afternoon, shortly after The Associated Press called the race. Air Force veteran Sam Peters ran second with 28.7 percent and former Miss Nevada USA Lisa Song Sutton, who is a Las Vegas-area businesswoman, was third with 14.6 percent.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos pointed to both local and national issues that the Democrats argue favor Horsford in November.

“Jim Marchant has shown that he would be a reckless rubberstamp for Washington Republicans’ reckless agenda that would make Nevadans’ health care more expensive, allow the re-opening of Yucca Mountain and undermine the commitment our country has made to older Nevadans,” the Illinois congresswoman said in a statement.

Horsford was declared the winner of the Democratic primary early on Tuesday night. It will be an uphill battle for Marchant going to November, as Horsford’s congressional career has not appeared to be in jeopardy despite a recent admission of an extramarital affair with a former intern of former Sen. Harry Reid. The race is rated Solid Democratic by Inside Elections.

The DCCC’s counterparts on the Republican side made clear they expect to try to make an issue of Horsford’s personal issues.

“Steven Horsford is the second consecutive Democrat in this district to have his tenure defined by scandal instead of getting results. When Horsford isn’t embarrassing his constituents, he’s busy blindly supporting the full range of the socialist agenda of House Democrats, including the Green New Deal,” the National Republican Congressional Committee said in a Monday memo.

The top three GOP candidates in the district were eager to tout their endorsements ahead of the primary, with House Judiciary ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio headlining those backing Marchant. Marchant also corralled the support of both National Right to Life and the NRA.

Newcomer Song Sutton had argued that she would be the best equipped to expand the GOP tent to win the seat in November, and her supporters include E-PAC and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

Peters highlighted backing from Republicans including former Speaker Newt Gingrich and activist and musician Ted Nugent.

The results were announced somewhat more quickly in Nevada’s other closely watched House contest. Former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer was declared the winner on Friday of the Republican nomination in Nevada’s 3rd District to face freshman Democrat Susie Lee.

Elsewhere in the Silver State, incumbent Republican Rep. Mark Amodei won his primary in his northern Nevada-based 2nd District and Democratic Rep. Dina Titus prevailed in her primary in the Las Vegas-based 1st District. Each district has a solid rating for the incumbent's party.