Republican Danny Tarkanian, the son of the legendary University of Nevada, Las Vegas, basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, announced a bid Monday for the Silver State’s open 3rd District, setting up a GOP primary in a tossup race.
Tarkanian will challenge state Sen. Michael Roberson for the Republican nomination in this seat — left vacant because of GOP Rep. Joe Heck’s Senate bid .
“I am running for Congress to be a voice for my community and for all of us who want to renew America’s greatness,” Tarkanian said in a letter to supporters.
GOP operatives expected Roberson to have to undergo a primary. A top ally of GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, Roberson helped push through a budget unpopular with staunch conservatives in the state.
But Tarkanian’s long track record of electoral losses will make his primary fight an uphill climb.
This will be Tarkanian’s fifth bid for political office in 12 years. He’s 0-for-4 in his previous attempts. In 2004, he ran an unsuccessful state Senate bid. Two years later, he lost a bid for Nevada secretary of state against Democrat Ross Miller — whom national Democrats are seeking to recruit for the 3rd District contest in 2016.
In 2010, he finished third in a GOP primary for Senate behind Sharron Angle, who later lost to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. And in 2012, Tarkanian lost a bid for Nevada’s 4th District to now-former Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., 50 percent to 42 percent.
Democrats will heavily target this district — located in the southern Las Vegas suburbs — for a pickup in 2016. President Barack Obama carried it twice, albeit by slim margins.
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