Republican Danny Tarkanian announced Monday that he’ll run for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by fellow Republican Rep. Joe Heck.
Heck has announced a Senate bid, so Tarkanian’s announcement sets up a primary with establishment-backed state Sen. Michael Roberson.
Tarkanian, a frequent candidate and the son of legendary, late UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, used the mantra “never give up” in his email announcement and said he’ll fight for lower taxes and more individual liberties.
“I am running for Congress to be a voice for my community and for all of us who want to renew America’s greatness,” he said.
Tarkanian made unsuccessful bids for the Nevada Senate in 2004, the Nevada Secretary of State’s seat in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010, and briefly sought a seat on the Nevada Board of Regents before withdrawing last year.
He won the Republican primary for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District seat in 2012, but lost to Democrat Steven Horsford.
“Every time you do something in life and if it’s not a success, you learn from those,” he told The Associated Press on Monday. “I’ve tried hard to stay involved, and I believe I have a good standing with the people.”
Tarkanian has been critical of Roberson, who helped usher a major tax package backed by Gov. Brian Sandoval through the Nevada Legislature.
He wrote an op-ed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in May saying the Republican-controlled Legislature was squandering their rare opportunity to pass conservative reforms.
“Sen. Roberson and I have a completely different philosophy on politics,” Tarkanian said in an interview. “Voters will see a clear distinction.”
Roberson, who holds the highest position in the state Senate, has the support of powerful Republican officeholders including Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller.
Tarkanian’s announcement comes a week after Heck said he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Harry Reid.
Tarkanian called Heck a “tremendously effective representative” and endorsed him in the race against Democratic former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.
“In an era when politicians often say one thing and do another, Joe has served with integrity and purpose, always putting the interests of his constituents ahead of politics,” Tarkanian said.
The 3rd Congressional District includes Henderson and Summerlin in southern Nevada. Democrats hold a slight registration advantage there, but a sizeable portion of registered nonpartisans make it Nevada’s most competitive district.