LAS VEGAS — The most geographically diverse congressional district in Nevada is the site of its liveliest primary on Tuesday, pitting a former tea party strategist against a conservative state assemblyman in a bid to challenge Democratic incumbent Rep. Steven Horsford. Meanwhile, other congressional primary races throughout the state are less competitive. Here’s a look at the congressional primary races on Tuesday in Nevada:
Niger Innis and Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, who have raised similar amounts of campaign money, are seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Horsford.
The 4th District stretches from urban North Las Vegas to the rural northern towns of Yerington and Ely.
Hardy is a fifth-generation resident of Mesquite and two-term assemblyman. Innis is a national spokesman for the Congress on Racial Equality.
The two have trumpeted their conservative credentials during four debates, speaking out against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s handling of a tense grazing rights dispute involving rancher Cliven Bundy. In their most recent debate, Innis criticized Hardy for votes in the Nevada Legislature to implement President Barack Obama’s health care law, while Innis was criticized for failing to vote for much of his adult life.
The Republican primary also includes lesser-known candidates Mike Monroe and Carlo Poliak, who frequently appears on the Nevada ballot.
The winner is expected to face Horsford, a well-funded candidate, who is facing two little-known challengers, Mark Budetich Jr. and Sid Zeller.
In the 3rd Congressional District, which includes suburban Henderson and Summerlin, the battle is projected to come after the primary. Democrat Erin Bilbray is expected to beat a little-known primary opponent, Zachary “Mr. Z” Campbell, while three-term incumbent Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican, faces no primary challenge.
Democrats hope they can leverage their 1 percentage-point registration advantage in the district to unseat Heck. But registered nonpartisan voters, who account for 19 percent of the electorate, will likely decide the race in November.
Heck leads in fundraising, with almost four times as much campaign cash as Bilbray, according to reports filed with the FEC.
Bilbray, the daughter of well-known four-term Nevada congressman James Bilbray, founded Emerge Nevada, which trains female political candidates.
Heck is a doctor and Army Reservist who serves on the House armed services, intelligence and education and workforce committees. In 2012, he defeated his Democratic opponent, John Oceguera, by 7 percentage points.
Republican Mark Amodei is expected to easily retain his seat in the 2nd District, which covers the northern portion of the state and never has elected a Democrat. The district is 43 percent Republican, 33 percent Democratic and 17 percent registered nonpartisan.
Four candidates with no political experience are seeking the Democratic nomination. They include Reno physician Vance Alm, Gardnerville store clerk Brian Dempsey, Reno engineer Ed Lee and Incline Village attorney Kristen Spees.
In the 1st District, where Democrats hold a wide 2-to-1 registration advantage, incumbent Dina Titus is expected to keep her seat. Her lone primary challenger is Herbert Glenn Peters, who has lost eight congressional races in Nevada and California.
The race for the Republican nomination features two Hispanic candidates — Dr. Annette Teijeiro and lawyer Jose Padilla. Both come from immigrant families and will compete in a congressional district that is 43 percent Latino.
But the GOP winner faces a steep challenge in the general election. Only one Republican has ever held the seat — former U.S. Rep and Sen. John Ensign.