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Horsford says he's running; 2014 rematch lurks

Horsford says he's running; 2017 rematch lurks. (KSNV)

Steven Horsford's low point: A loss on election night 2014 that unexpectedly cut short the promising political career of one of Nevada’s young rising stars.

Fast forward to January 25, 2018. You learn a lot in four years, he tells me.

“It's actually been good for me to be out of public life the past couple years and to watch like all Americans have watched just how dysfunctional Congress is. Really on both sides,” Horsford told me today, the day he announced he’s running for his old seat in Washington.

In the meantime, he started a business and learned some lessons.

“To know what it's like to have to meet a payroll. To deal with burdensome regulations and taxes,” he says, sounding almost, well, Republican, but he isn't. This Democrat jumps first into a primary that includes a state senator, a progressive, a teacher and maybe a mayor.

“Well, first, I’m not running against anyone in the primary. I’m running for Nevada’s 4th,” Horsford says. “I know many of the people running. I’ve sat down and talked with them. I’ve had coffee with them. Each one of them have compelling reasons why they have put their name forward.”

The Democratic field that Horsford joins includes State Senator Pat Spearman, progressive Amy Vilela, CCSD principal John Anzalone, and potentially North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee.

Horsford’s entry also, should he survive in June, raises the possibility of a rematch with the Republican who beat him: Mesquite’s Cresent Hardy, who lost his seat in 2016 to Democrat Ruben Kihuen. Kihuen was a rare Democratic bright spot on election night 2016 but is not running for reelection because he’s been accused of sexual harassment, a charge he denies.

Horsford tells me Kihuen’s problems played no role in his decision to run.

“This really has nothing to do with that,” Horsford says. “This has to do with the kind of direction that the country is going in and the fact that a lot of us are very concerned.”

Horsford is a harsh Trump critic, claiming collusion with the Russians helped pave Trump’s path to the White House and has strong reservations about Trump’s behavior in office. He says Congress needs to do its job.

“Absolutely there should be a process to bring this president upon articles of impeachment,” he says.

He’s also been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and a supporter of the “Dreamers,” the young people brought here as children by their illegal immigrant parents. Since they’re at the center of the current congressional drama, I asked Horsford, was he back, would he vote for another government shutdown when the current spending deadline expires in February?

No, he says. “We need to be working to keep the government open. Everyday government is closed it cost the country and our economy $1.5 billion dollars.”

Horsford’s immediate challenge is to run his race.

In 2012, he was one of six congressional freshmen who decided to move their families to Washington, giving his family a full-time father and an invaluable exposure to the American government. His family thrived, he says.

Then came the loss of 2014.

“When I didn’t get elected we had to make another decision because my kids (he has three) were already settled and we didn’t want to just uproot them,” Horsford says. The other element, he says, was his wife’s career as a college professor. “We talk about women and women’s rights and supporting women. Well, I’m supporting my wife and her career after she supported me for decades.”

His family remains in Washington while he is now returning to CD4, although he says, with his business, he never really left. He says he was back often.

After his loss in 2016, Hardy returned to Nevada. Among Horsford's brewing competition, you can already hear it: he's a carpetbagger, they claim.

"Cresent Hardy was unaware that Mr. Horsford has moved back to Nevada from his permanent home in Washington D.C.," says a Hardy aide.

And this...from a potential primary challenger: "Nobody's seen him in the last two to three years," says Mayor John Lee.

Unfair, says Horsford, who says he's been back a lot.

“I've been around probably more than people realize,” he tells me. “This is home to me. Was born here. This is my roots. I care deeply about this community. I am concerned about its future,” he adds.

Enough, to run again.

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