Meet the Nevada congressional candidates who advanced to the November election

Meet the Nevada congressional candidates who advanced to the November election

A photo collage showing, from top-left to bottom-right, Nevada Democratic US Sen. Jacky Rosen; Nevada Democratic US Rep. Dina Titus; Nevada Democratic US Rep. Susie Lee; Nevada Democratic US Rep. Steven Horsford; Republican US Senate candidate Sam Brown; Republican US House candidate Mark Robertson; Republican US House candidate Drew Johnson and Nevada Republican US Rep. Mark Amodei. Photo credit: AP.

By Casey Harrison

June 12, 2024

With the field largely set for Nevada’s congressional races, Democrats and Republicans will spend the next several months stating their case for why they should represent the Silver State on Capitol Hill.

The dust has largely settled following Nevada’s statewide primary on Tuesday, which revealed the full slate of major party candidates who are vying for one of Nevada’s five open congressional seats come November. 

Democratic US Sen. Jacky Rosen and Democratic US Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee, and Steven Horsford easily swept their primary contests, along with Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, while many of the Republicans who won their primaries have never held elected office before. 

Roughly 85% of votes had been reported as of Tuesday, but the Associated Press was able to call the races for GOP senate candidate Sam Brown, as well Republican House nominees Mark Robertson and Drew Johnson. Turnout, however, was low, with just 16.8% of the state’s 2 million active registered voters having cast a ballot, according to Nevada Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar’s office — though that figure will grow slightly as elections officials continue to add mail ballots to the final tally.

The only race not yet called as of the publication of this story is the Republican primary for Nevada’s fourth congressional district, where former North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee was leading former US Air Force Lt. Col. David Flippo by about 800 votes.

Below is an overview of the candidates who emerged victorious from Tuesday’s primaries and where they stand on key issues. 

The incumbents

All four US House incumbents sailed to their party’s nomination, but nobody had it easier than Titus, who ran unopposed. Amodei was beating his primary challenger by 35 percentage points as of the publication of this article, while Susie Lee and Horsford were each receiving about 90% of the vote in their respective races.

In a brief interview with The Nevadan on Wednesday, Horsford said Nevada’s congressional Democrats have delivered greatly for residents over the past two years.

“There’s a very clear choice in the upcoming election in November,” Horsford told The Nevadan. “It’s between those of us who are fighting to protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body [and] ensuring that we are addressing the critical economic issues that families are facing.”

Amodei has become an integral part of Republican leadership in the House and will likely have the easiest path to reelection come November in his safely Republican seat. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Amodei does not have a Democratic challenger and instead will face independent Greg Kidd, a philanthropist, as well as two other minor party candidates. 

Titus, meanwhile, advanced to face Robertson, a retired US Army Colonel and educator whom she bested by roughly 12,000 votes in 2022. In a statement late Tuesday, Titus said she looked forward to the rematch. 

“I have beaten Mr. Robertson before and I look forward to beating him again this November,” Titus said in a statement. “My constituents know I have their backs in Washington and I am grateful to have their support here in District One.”

Like her House colleagues, Rosen easily won the Democratic nomination for her re-election. Pollsters had that as a given, and Rosen now moves on to a matchup against Brown, an ex-US Army Captain and Arkansas native, for a general election race that experts and analysts say could determine which party controls Congress’ upper chamber. 

Rosen and other Democratic-aligned groups have already aired ads attacking Brown, and her campaign has sought to cast Brown as an “extreme” far-right ally to former President Donald Trump who is naive to Nevada-specific issues and would endorse a nationwide abortion ban if Republicans regained control of the House and Senate. 

“My opponent is a MAGA extremist who will say anything to get elected,” Rosen said in a press release. “Voters will have a clear choice in this race between a Senator who always puts Nevadans first and a politician who only moved here a few years ago just to run for office.”

The challengers

Brown was endorsed by Trump after the former president’s visit to Las Vegas on Sunday, and is a relative political newcomer who unsuccessfully ran for senate in Nevada in 2022 and a state house seat in Texas when he lived there in 2014. He easily bested his fellow Republicans running to challenge Rosen and received nearly 60% of the primary vote as of Wednesday morning. 

The Cook Political Report has rated the Nevada senate race a “toss up,” though some recent polling has shown a slight edge to Rosen, who was named the sixth-most bipartisan senator last year by the Georgetown University’s Lugar Center and has been a key vote on many pieces of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and other. 

Brown, a Purple Heart recipient, blames Rosen and Democrats for policies he claims have contributed to inflation and enabled the record surge in crossings at the US southern border under President Joe Biden (even though Rosen in recent weeks had urged Biden to take executive action to stem unlawful entry into the country).

Brown has also already had to play defense over comment he made in 2022 that endorsed restarting the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project — which he has since changed his stance on. Brown has also been criticized over his role as executive board chairman to a religious group that opposes abortion and told NBC News after revealing his wife Amy had an abortion that he believes access to the procedure should be left to states to determine. 

In a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, Brown thanked those who supported his “resounding” victory. 

“It’s on to November, where we’re going to bring back accountability to DC,” said Brown. “We’re going to restore good leadership, and we’re going to have something to hope for.” 

Along with Brown’s senate bid, national Republicans have identified the seats held by Titus, Susie Lee, and Horsford as potential flips. 

Titus’ district includes the Las Vegas Strip and Latino-heavy east Las Vegas that skews slightly Democratic. 

Robertson, meanwhile, is a fiscal hawk who as a candidate in 2022, endorsed the proposal of eliminating the US Department of Education and other large executive branch agencies — a pitch that ultimately failed to motivate voters last time around. Robertson did not respond to a request for comment regarding his rematch with Titus. 

Facing Susie Lee is Drew Johnson, a conservative political commentator who claims he has saved taxpayers billions over his career after exposing wasteful government spending. In a candidate survey for the nonpartisan voter information website Ballotpedia, Johnson took credit for crafting school choice legislation and said if elected, he’d like to ease licensing restrictions in a bid to spur small business growth. 

Johnson’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment regarding his victory, but in a social media post after the AP called his race, he recognized the challenge that lies before him in November. 

“We will fight hard to earn the support of all voters throughout this district,” Johnson said. “I look forward to providing voters with a positive vision for cleaning up the mess Susie Lee and Joe Biden have created.” 

John Lee, the Democrat-turned-Republican former North Las Vegas Mayor, served in that role from 2013-2022. He announced during an interview with Fox News in 2021 that he was leaving the Democratic party to join the Republicans. Lee has scored endorsements from Gov. Joe Lombardo and former President Donald Trump, and before becoming mayor, was a state assemblyman from 1996-2002 and a state senator from 2004-2012. 

In a statement to The Nevadan, John Lee said while his race is still too close to call, he thanked voters nonetheless for coming out. Flippo was unable to be reached for comment. 

“I am grateful for the support we’ve received so far and remain optimistic as we await the final results,” John Lee said in a statement. “I want to thank all the voters who have come out to participate in this important election. It’s crucial that every vote is counted, and we will respect the process until the race is officially called.”

The winner will face Horsford, the chair of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus who has spent much of the last two years advocating for legislation to bolster access to affordable housing and prevent gun violence. Whether its John Lee or Flippo, Horsford said neither could deliver on issues important to constituents in his district. 

“This is a district I was born and raised in,” Horsford said. “This is not about party or partisanship. It’s about the people. And centering them in the policy that I’m proud to have advocated for and delivered on.”

  • Casey Harrison

    Casey Harrison is political correspondent for The Nevadan. Previously, he covered politics and the Oakland Athletics' relocation to Southern Nevada for the Las Vegas Sun, and before that, was a digital producer at The Detroit News. Casey graduated from Michigan State University in 2019.

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