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Monday, July 15, 2024

GOP Plays for Keeps in Bid to Flip 3 Vegas-Area Districts Red

'We’re going after it in a big way, in an aggressive way, and we  think this is the year that Nevada is going to turn red across the state...'

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) In southern Nevada’s three Democrat-dominated congressional districts, Republicans are betting big against the House—literally.

Those three seats may be critical in the GOP’s pathway to reclaiming the majority after four years of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s iron-fisted dominion.

According to GOP candidate Sam Peters, who is hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Rep. Steven Horsford in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s decision to double-down on this crapshoot might just help it hit the jackpot.

“In this political environment they’re all on the table,” Peters told Headline USA in a phone interview, noting that party leaders were “incredibly bullish” and “believe the taking back of the House runs through Nevada.”

Even nonpartisan political prognosticators agree that the climate may be ripe for a Republican routing.

“All 3 of these seats are gettable for Republicans this cycle,” wrote Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, in an email to Headline USA.

“This map is going to be stress-tested right away by the political environment, which remains Republican-leaning,” Kondik added. “Nevada is a great test for how much Republicans are making further inroads with both white and nonwhite working-class voters, as Nevada is a largely working-class state (or is at least more working class than some of the other most competitive states).”

Nonetheless, it remains an uphill battle, with state Democrats’ recent redistricting having made one Las Vegas-area seat substantially more competitive for Republicans while reallocating Democrats in the other two southern Nevada districts to yield slightly safer margins.

“Democrats re-drew these seats in order to try to secure a 3–1 edge in the delegation, unpacking the previously safe Democratic NV-1 to shore up the other 2 districts,” Kondik wrote.

A recent poll of his district showed Peters trailing Horsford by 2.9%. That, he said, was “exactly where we’re supposed to be in this race” against a two-term incumbent who sits on the House Ways & Means Committee, the House Armed Services Committee and serves as vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Peters—a well-decorated retired Air Force major and small-business owner overseeing a family-run insurance company in the Las Vegas area—has his own ideas for how to manage a federal budget and strengthen our national defense, among the litany of issues where Democrat policies have gone bust.

“The biggest challenge is making voters know they have a choice,” he said, while also “dispelling the lies that Democrats continue to spew.”

Peters’s internal polling closely mirrors national polls showing that the top concerns for voters in his district are economic issues and border security.

“People are fed up with $5 gas, with billions of dollars being sent overseas in various places,” he said, adding that his district was among the hardest hit by the pandemic lockdown policies that Horsford helped create.

“The pandemic—the shutdowns that my opponent has been silent on—it put Nevada in a place where we had the highest unemployment in the country for two years,” Peters said. “That’s not an advantage that I want.”

Astoundingly, Democrats have largely ignored those kitchen-table issues in favor of ad-hominem attacks that claim Peters is an “extremist” and nonsequitors suggesting he wants to dismantle Social Security.

In the course of his many conversations with Republicans, both in his district and at the national level, “never once has getting rid of Social Security been a topic,” he marveled.

Yet, within an hour of his primary victory, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had emailed talking points to state operatives and local media that sought to frighten the district’s many retirees into submission.

Other components of their strategy included linking him to “the dangerous lies that led to the deadly January 6 insurrection” and slamming his pro-Christian stance on abortion (access to which is protected under Nevada state law, regardless of the recent Dobbs decision).

“It’s a bunch of nonsense,” Peters said. “… It’s grasping at straws—that’s what they’re doing.”

Like many, however, he worries that Democrats may once again attempt to play the game with a stacked deck in a district that includes the birthplace of notorious dirty-trickster Harry Reid, the late Senate majority leader who infamously lied on the chamber floor about Mitt Romney’s taxes.

“With regards to elections, we are ever aware that we need to be paying attention,” Peters said when asked about lessons that Republicans may have learned from previous election cycles. “We need to make sure that the county registrars are having elections that are transparent [and] secure.”

But he quickly added that his focus, predominantly, was on running a clean race and having faith in the system.

“From my perspective, my job is to get out and talk to as many people … let them know that they have an option,” he said. “That’s the bottom line of it all, getting the message out and letting people know Democrats caused these issues and they have no solutions.”

Peters already withstood one major test—a primary battle against Establishment Republican Annie Black.

Black benefited from the support of the RNCC and other GOP institutions, as well as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Elise Stefanik, who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference.

“They’re in this to win, and I get it,” Peters said, brushing off the initial intra-party snub of his possible soon-to-be colleagues.

The GOP’s kingmaker-in-chief, former President Donald Trump, remained uncharacteristically quiet, although there is little doubt he will throw his clout behind Peters and other Nevada Republicans in the general election.

Black, a member of the state Assembly, may have been the better bet for winning crossover Democrats. But voters quickly made clear their preference for a true conservative and political outsider, giving Peters a fundraising edge alongside his name recognition as a prominent talk-radio personality.

He ultimately bested Black by about a 7% margin—a decisive, if not commanding, victory—garnering 48% of the overall vote.

The national-party leaders have since come around to backing Peters, adding their tacit support to a list of more full-throated endorsements that includes Freedom Caucus Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar—both Arizona Republicans—and classic-rock legend Ted Nugent.

Rather than resting on his laurels, though, Peters said he plans to continue getting his message out and making his case to the remaining 52% of Republicans—not to mention independents and Democrat crossovers—who may initially have hesitated to go all-in for him.

With the stakes as high as they’ve ever been for America’s future, this is no time to fold.

“We’re going after it,” he said. “We’re going after it in a big way, in an aggressive way, and we think this is the year that Nevada is going to turn red across the state.”

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