Ruben Kihuen: Will he, or won’t he run?

Nevada state Sen. Ruben Kihuen won the U.S. House seat held by Republican Cresent Hardy. He has resigned his state Senate seat and is headed to Washington, D.C., to prepare for Congress. (KSNV file)

On this International Women's Day, I headed to the Genesis Salon.

It's in Kihuen's 4th district, and stylist Zena Dickens has some advice for the Democrat--who reports say, may be mulling a re-election bid.

“I would think he would need to let somebody else run and just forget about it,” Dickens says.

Last December, Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nevada, got caught up in the #MeToo moment, being accused by women of sexual misconduct.

He denied the charges and denied them again last week in an interview with Telemundo.

In December, as the controversy was boiling, Kihuen said he would not run for re-election.

Yesterday, the Nevada Independent's Jon Ralston broke the story Kihuen may be changing his mind.

“Well, I think he's being encouraged by some people who say, 'oh, Ruben, what you did isn't so bad and the furor has died down and there haven't been stories in weeks,'” Ralston told me.

That news is ricocheting around Nevada's Democratic Party.

"I believe the women who came forward, and it's still my view that he should step aside," Congresswoman Jacky Rosen told me today.

The Democratic primary for CD4 is already crowded, with activist Amy Vilela having officially filed, and other runs expected from former congressman Steven Horsford, state senator Pat Spearman, CCSD educator John Anzalone, Nevada higher education regent Alison Stephens and possibly North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee.

What happens if Kihuen got in?

“How would it work? He would lose. He would lose the primary,” says Annette Magnus, the Executive Director of the progressive group Battleborn Progress.

Ralston isn't so sure but adds Kihuen would face big challenges if he runs.

“Number one, the House Ethics Committee is likely to ramp up its investigation, and Jeff, there are other stories about Ruben Kihuen out there,” Ralston says. After the accusations broke last year, the Ethics Committee said it would investigate Kihuen, who has promised to cooperate with the probe.

Another challenge Kihuen could face would be organizational support.

The freshman congressman won in November 2016 with an all-out assist from the powerful Culinary Union, which declined to comment for today’s story, but whose leadership has said in the past it would favor former Representative Steven Horsford.

Before his career in Congress, Horsford led the Culinary Training Academy.

Kihuen, however, would enter a race with money.

According to the Federal Election Commission, he has $406,000 in cash-on-hand. The bigger question is would he be able to find donors to give him more.

In our unscientific survey Thursday, we found one person who said Kihuen deserves another chance.

Not stylist Zena Dickens, who says Kihuen's time is up.

“Well, he had a chance. And apparently, he blew it,” she says.

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