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Political Note #364 Steve Horsford NV 04
2022 General Election
Steven Horsford https://www.stevenhorsford.com represents NV 04. The district was created after the 2010 census in response to Nevada’s population growth. It is 65% white, 15% Hispanic, and less than 10% Black. Most of the district’s population is in the northern part of Las Vegas. The District extends into northern suburbs and well into rural Nevada – half way to the state’s northern border. Steven Horsford was the district’s first Member of Congress. He was elected to the position in 2012, lost in 2014, elected again in 2018 and 2020. Every one of those elections was close. In 2020, he received 50.67% of the vote.
Steven Horsford is becoming less unusual. He is now one of several African American Members of Congress who represent predominantly white districts.
Begin with his mother, Pamela Horsford. She came to the United States with her mother from Trinidad as a teenager and gave birth to Steven Horsford when she was seventeen. For the most part, she was a single mother, raising her son on her own while retaining a kind of relationship with her husband. With Steven Horsford’s help, she overcome her husband’s shooting death and her own drug problem. Steven came home from college temporarily to care for her after the shooting and helped her escape her addiction.
Consider his wife, Sonya Douglass Horsford, who he married in 2000. She is in New York now, at Teachers College, Columbia University. A Las Vegas local, she got her BA from Colorado State, an MPA and an EdD from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She stayed and was on the faculty at UNLV from 2007 to 2013. She moved to George Mason University in Virginia in 2013 and to Teachers College in 2016 where she is an Associate professor.
She had a transformative experience while writing her doctorate. She described her doctoral plans to Asa Hilliard, the former Dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, by then on the faculty at Georgia State University. Her plan was to interview eight Black school superintendents who oversaw integration. He explained that integration never really happened. She approached her interviews with a new viewpoint, found that most of the eight had attended segregated schools and Historically Black Universities. She learned in her research the importance of Black institutions, the dignity they can offer to those who are part of those institutions.
And consider his former girlfriend. Gabriel Lindor. She met Steven Horsford during her brief internship in Harry Reid’s office. Her podcast, Mistress for Congress, recounted an affair with Steven Horsford that began in 2009 when he was a state senator and continued, off and on, for ten years.
Now, finally, consider Steven Horsford. He was a natural – a leader willing to take on hard jobs. He had to be. His mother’s addiction was debilitating. His father was rarely at home. His grandmother was too ill to be helpful. One bio describes Steven Horsford as the head of his household at age ten.
Steven Horsford recalls being elected president of his sixth-grade class and, in that role, procuring a juke box for the class. While in high school, to keep the family together, he worked for Pizza Hut and for a veterinarian, cleaning out kennels. He went away to college, but not far — to the University of Nevada, Reno. His interrupted college experience interfered with him getting his degree. He did, finally, in 2014.
In 1996, at age 23, he went to work for R&R partners, a marketing firm that created the famous slogan – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. He then worked for and became CEO of the Culinary Training Academy, a job training program associated with Nevada’s most powerful union – the Culinary Workers. With their support, in 2004, he was elected to the Nevada State Senate.
In February, 2009, Steven Horsford was elected by his peers to be the Nevada Senate Majority Leader. He had a scandal or two as state senator. He was caught parking in a handicapped parking space (for 6 hours). He tried to raise funds for Nevada Democrats by offering a chance to meet with various legislators in exchange for donations – leading to claims of pay to play legislating. The online poker company PokerStars paid for a trip to the Bahamas – just before he introduced legislation legalizing internet gambling in Nevada.
The scandals did not prevent Steven Horsford from being elected to Congress in the new NV 04 district. He benefited, in his first Congressional election, by having Danny Tarkanian as his Republican opponent. The perpetual and wealthy candidate, son of the great UNLV basketball coach, has not been a successful candidate yet. Steven Horsford suffered a narrow loss in 2014, but returned to run when the incumbent Democrat, who was elected in 2016, had a sex-related scandals that forced him to decline to run for reelection. Steve Horsford was back in Congress in 2018. He won with 50.67% of the vote in 2020.
As a legislator, Steve Horsford has known that money counts. He chaired the State Senate Finance Committee. In Congress, he has served on the Ways and Means Committee and the Budget Committee. He’s an advocate for raising the minimum wage. He shadowed a UPS driver to support that increase. He’s an advocate for gun safety, in particular for banning assault weapons and exercising greater control of gun sales by closing the gun show loophole. He has supported a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He balances his positions a little. He was the only member of the Progressive Caucus to support a delay in implementing the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Don’t underestimate Steve Horsford. He has come a long way from being the 10 year-old head of his family. He has learned a lot about the world and, maybe, a little about himself. We can learn something about Nevada as we watch Democrats continue to win narrow victories there.
Here are the Democrats who have been elected recently in Nevada:
US Senator Jacky Rosen Elected in 2018 by 5 points
US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto Elected in 2016 by 3.5 points
Representative Dina Titus NV 01 Re-elected in 2020 by 28.5 points
Representative Susie Lee NV 03 Re-elected in 2020 by 3 points
Representative Steve Horsford NV 04 Re-elected in 2020 by 5 points
Governor Steve Sisolak Elected in 2018 by 4 points
Lt. Governor Kate Marshall Elected in 2018 by 6.5 points
Attorney General Aaron Ford Elected in 2018 by .4 points
State Treasurer Zach Conine Elected in 2018 by .6 points
State Comptroller Catherine Byrne Elected in 2018 by 4.5 points
Republicans can and still win elections in Nevada. Mark Amodei was reelected to the 2nd Congressional District by nearly 20 points in 2020. Barbara Cegavske was reelected as Secretary of State in 2018 by .7 points.
Steve Horsford cannot take a victory for granted in 2022. Neither can we. We should be doing what we can to help him win reelection. With a tiny majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats need every Member of Congress running for reelection to win. And then to win a few additional seats to create what amounts to a very small cushion. That will be a tough feat. The President’s party usually loses seats in a mid-year election. Help Joe Biden, Congressional Democrats, and Steve Horsford https://www.stevenhorsford.com to buck that trend. Donate as if your way of life were on the line. Because it is.
Members of Congress who won with less than 51% of the vote
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
Organizations to support as well
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) https://dccc.org
The Democratic National Committee (DNC). https://democrats.org The official organization of the Democratic Party.
Fair Fight https://fairfight.com Promotes fair elections around the country
A Special Election Coming Up
The TX 06 multi-party primary is on May 1. Jana Lynne Sanchez could use every bit of help you can provide. Getting a Democrat into the run off creates the possibility of adding to the slim Democratic majority in the current Congress and creates momentum for retaining and even expanding a Democratic majority in the next Congress. Add to Jana Lynne Sanchez’ resources https://www.janasanchez.com