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020221 Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03
2022 General Election
Joe Biden 49.1% Donald Trump 48.9%
That was the vote in Nevada’s Third Congressional District in November, 2020. Democrats did worse in 2016. Trump won by a point. The Republican candidate for Senator carried the district by 1.4%.
NV 03 is Nevada’s south. South of Las Vegas, Nevada becomes a triangle scrunched between California and Arizona. The district is 70% white, 15% Hispanic, and 12% Asian. Median household income is just under $80,000 — $25,000 higher than the figure for the state as a whole.
NV 03 has a guardian angel. His name is Harry Reid. In 2016, when NV 03 became an open seat, the former Senate Majority Leader found a candidate whose only previous elected office was as president of her synagogue. With his support, Jacky Rosen won the election. He found a new campaign for her in 2018. She was elected to the US Senate. His candidate in 2018 was Susie Lee https://www.susieleeforcongress.com, a popular philanthropist in Las Vegas. She lost in the primary in 2016, won the primary and the election in 2018.
The Republicans could have used a guardian angel. For every good choice Harry Reid made, the Republicans made a bad one. Their NV 03 candidate in 2016 and 2018 was Danny Tarkanian, son of an eccentric, but winning basketball coach at UN-Las Vegas. Danny keeps losing elections. Their choice for 2020 was no better. Dan Rodimer was a former professional wrestler. He got 45.8% of the vote – 3 points less than Susie Lee. She had two additional opponents. A Libertarian who got 2.9% of the vote. And Edward Bridges II of the Independent American Party, a far right party under which George Wallace ran in 1968. He got 2.5% of the vote. In a year when many Democratic Congressional candidates had results that were disappointing, without the two third party candidates on the ballot, Susie Lee could have been disappointed, too.
2020 was not an easy campaign for Susie Lee. One challenge stands out. Susie Lee and other Nevada Members of Congress fought a Trump administrative decision to preclude gambling from receiving PPP loans/grants. They were successful in removing that restriction. Dan Lee, her husband, applied for and obtained two loans for his gambling businesses totally over $5 million. Susie Lee was described, in an internet story, as the first identified Member of Congress to benefit from PPP loans. She denied knowledge of the PPP application. She insisted that her advocacy for including gaming in PPP loans was on behalf of an industry central to Nevada’s success. The controversy didn’t defeat her, but it dogged her throughout the campaign.
The post-election wasn’t easy for Susie Lee either. Her mother became ill from Covid-19 and Susie Lee went to Ohio to visit her. Her mother was in hospice and died while her daughter was visiting. Susie Lee tested negative before returning to Nevada, but tested positive on November 25. She does not appear to have been criticized for traveling.
Susie Lee grew up in Canton, Ohio – one of Ohio’s many old and former industrial cities. Canton does attract tourists because it is the home of the football hall of fame. Susie Kelly Lee was one of eight children. Her dad was a steelworker who was laid off at age 57. Her mother was at home. Smart and athletic, Susie Kelly Lee went to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh where she was on the swim team.
She went east after college to work for a consulting firm that specialized in water resource issues. In 1993 after three years in Massachusetts, she got a job working for the Mayor of Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, she met and married Dan Lee, who is now the CEO of Full House Resorts, Inc. They had two children and she worked for non-profits. She founded and directed the Afternoon All-Stars, an after-school basketball program. Before running for Congress, she was President of Communities in School in Nevada, President of Nevada Women’s Philanthropies, and Founding Executive Director of a homeless shelter. Her central interest in these charitable works was to prevent school drop outs. It’s not the same, of course, but she had considered dropping out of Carnegie Mellon when her father was laid off.
In Congress, she is a member of the moderate and fiscally conservative New Democrat Coalition (the largest of the Democratic caucuses). She is also a member of the bipartisan Problem Solver’s Caucus. The latter group, composed of moderate and conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans may prove to be very important in the 117th Congress which, after all, has only a ten vote Democratic majority. Susie Lee has a particularly useful committee assignment on the Appropriation Committee. That is just right for someone identified as careful fiscally.
Susie Lee is a formidable fund raiser. She raised and spent $4.7 million in 2020, more than $5 million in 2018. She will want to raise that much or more in 2022. Contribute to her campaign early. The more Susie Lee https://www.susieleeforcongress.com develops an imposing bank balance for her campaign, the easier the campaign will be. We need a victory for every one of the Democratic incumbents.
Members of Congress to Support. (There will be more)
Iowa 03 Cynthia Axne https://cindyaxneforcongress.com Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020
Illinois 14 Lauren Underwood https://underwoodforcongress.com Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020
Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin https://elissaforcongress.com Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020
Michigan 11 Haley Stevens https://haleystevensforcongress.com Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020
Minnesota 02 Angie Craig https://angiecraig.com Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020
Nevada 03 Susie Lee https://www.susieleeforcongress.com Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020
Nevada 04 Steve Horsford https://www.stevenhorsford.com Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020
New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski https://malinowskifornj.com Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020
Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher https://www.lizziefletcher.com Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020
Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez http://www.vicentegonzalez.com Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020
Another way to support Democratic candidates for Congress is the DCCC.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) https://dccc.org