Rating Change: Nevada’s 3rd District

Joe Heck faces Erin Bilbray, above, in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Joe Heck faces Erin Bilbray, above, in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted July 21, 2014 at 7:54pm


Nevada’s 3rd District was supposed to host one of the most competitive House races in the country. But thus far, it hasn’t played out that way.  

The 3rd District includes Clark County, except for Las Vegas, which is divided between the 1st and 4th districts. President Barack Obama won the 3rd District by 8 points in 2008 but by a much narrower 2 points four years later. The two Obama victories put GOP Rep. Joe Heck on Democratic target lists. Democrats were excited about their recruit, Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray, the daughter of former Democratic Rep. Jim Bilbray. Bilbray was on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s second wave of JumpStart candidates , released last September and was endorsed by EMILY’s List nearly a year ago .  

But Bilbray has had trouble transitioning from campaign operative to candidate, according to multiple Democratic sources, and her campaign has not caught fire. Bilbray had just less than $500,000 in the bank on June 30, compared to Heck’s $1.5 million, and there is no indication that reinforcements are on the way for the challenger.  

Neither the DCCC nor the House Majority PAC, the go-to outside group on the Democratic side for House races, has reserved television time in the Las Vegas media market yet, which is an indication that some strategists aren’t convinced this is a good opportunity.  

We’re changing our Rothenberg Political Report /Roll Call rating of Nevada’s 3rd District from Leans Republican to Republican Favored amid growing doubts that this will be a top tier race in the fall.