Playing by his Own Rules: NV-04, Race of the Day

Mike Shields

3/29/2012 12:01:00 AM - Mike Shields
Democrat Steven Horsford in Nevada’s Fourth District is one of the Democrats’ most touted candidates this cycle. In fact, they are so sure he’ll win, they’re calling him a “majority maker” and flying him around the country to raise money for other Democrats rather than focusing on his own race.

Well, Horsford’s party is either delusional or they forgot to do a basic Google search on the guy.

Horsford is the worst kind of politician, one who operates by his own set of rules even if it means breaking the law or violating ethical standards. His reputation in Nevada, where he serves as Senate Majority Leader, is one of entitlement.

This new district, which includes North Las Vegas and stretches into rural parts of the state, is not one that will be easy for either party to win. Barack Obama won the district by 56 percent in 2008. Four years prior, George W. Bush narrowly carried it with 49.6 percent of the vote.

But Horsford’s weaknesses, coupled with strong Republican challengers, make this a real toss-up and Republicans intend to hold Horsford accountable.

Democrats hoped we’d write off this race, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported that “it looks like Republicans are going to put up a fight.”

The NRCC has launched a Web site dedicated to Horsford – thehorsfordrules.com – which will regularly expose Horsford’s long-history of ignoring the rules the rest of Nevadans live under. The first rule on Horsford’s list: Parking his SUV in a handicap zone ramp, the subject of a 2009 Nevada television report.

A local TV station did a lengthy segment on the violation. A viewer caught Horsford’s SUV in the ramp and took a photo after her disabled daughter could not access it to park. His SUV had a license plate marked: “State Senator 17,” but had no disability plates or placards.

The news report was devastating.

“It is perfectly reasonable to expect our lawmakers to follow the same rules they ask us to live by,” the station reported. “That’s why one local mother was so shocked when she caught one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers turning into a lawbreaker.”

Horsford refused to be interviewed for the piece. He eventually did sit down with the reporter but continued to dodge questions about whether he knew he was illegally parked in the spot.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as thehorsfordrules.com will reveal. Horsford’s self-entitled, live-above-the-law attitude is a pattern.

It’s unclear whether national Democrats know the full extent of Horsford’s reputation in Nevada, but they are going to have a difficult time defending his record in this race.

On our side of the race, the NRCC recently elevated three Republicans to “On the Radar” status in our Young Guns program -- Barbara Cegavske, Dan Schwartz, and Danny Tarkanian.

These candidates are building strong campaigns and plan to be competitive in the general, which Democrats have already declared victory. Something tells us this is going to be a lot tougher than they’re betting.