Former Assembly Speaker John Oceguera running for Congress | NevadaAppeal.com

Former Assembly Speaker John Oceguera running for Congress

Michelle Rindels and Sally Ho
The Associated Press
FILE - In this June 12, 2012, file photo, Democratic Assembly Speaker John Oceguera talks to supporters during a primary night gathering in Las Vegas. Oceguera announced Thursday, July 9, 2015, that he’ll join a crowded race for the state’s 4th Congressional District seat. The Democrat posted on his website that he’ll seek the post now held by Republican Cresent Hardy. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
AP | AP

(AP) Democrat John Oceguera, who previously held the highest post in the Nevada Assembly, announced Thursday that he’ll join a crowded race for the state’s 4th Congressional District seat.

Oceguera, 47, posted on his website that he’ll seek the post now held by Republican Cresent Hardy, who’s considered vulnerable after upsetting incumbent Democrat Steven Horsford in the 2014 midterms election.

“Serving Nevada families has not only been my career, it’s my passion,” Oceguera said in a press release. “And, it’s why I know I can do a better job in Congress than Cresent Hardy.”

He’ll be the fourth Democrat seeking to represent the district, which leans Democratic and includes urban North Las Vegas and a large swath of rural central Nevada. Fellow contenders include state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and Las Vegas philanthropist Susie Lee.

“I don’t think it’s going to be ugly,” Oceguera said about the primary. “I think there’s not going to be a lot of light between our positions as Democrats.”

He said he plans to point to his status as a native Nevadan with roots in both the northern and southern parts of the district and emphasize his community service and relatively long tenure in the Assembly.

In the state Legislature, Oceguera served for 12 years and held the top-ranking speaker post in 2011. He is also a former firefighter with the North Las Vegas fire department and currently works for a lobbying firm.

Oceguera is married and has three young children.

It’s not his first foray into congressional politics. Oceguera ran in the 3rd Congressional District in 2012 and lost by nearly 8 percentage points to incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Heck, who announced this week that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by longtime Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

“That was a totally different time and totally different place,” Oceguera said about his first House race, adding that the 4th Congressional District’s rural and urban makeup was a better fit for him. “The best lessons we learn are from the defeats that we had, and I certainly learned a lot there.”