GOP House map targets 3 incumbent Democrats in swing Nevada

FILE - U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in...
FILE - U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington on Feb. 28, 2020. Six-term Rep. Titus is seeking reelection to Nevada's 1st Congressional District seat in the Nov. 8, 2022 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)(Carolyn Kaster | AP)
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 8:27 AM PST
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(AP) - Three Democratic incumbents in Nevada are trying to hold their congressional seats in key races Republicans have targeted nationally in their bid to seize the majority in the U.S. House.

Two swing districts stretching out of Las Vegas through suburbs into rural areas have been highly competitive for a decade in the western battleground state.

And for the first time in years, as a result of redistricting, six-term Rep. Dina Titus is on the hot seat in the Democrat’s traditional stronghold encompassing the Las Vegas Strip after party strategists sacrificed some turf in exchange for gains elsewhere. Mark Robertson, a retired Army colonel, is trying to become the first Republican to win that 1st District seat since 1998.

Up for grabs were the two southern neighboring districts that have traded hands since they were created 10 and 20 years ago.

Second-term Rep. Susie Lee faces Republican April Becker and third-term Rep. Steven Horsford is up against Republican Samuel Peters.

Becker, a Las Vegas attorney who narrowly lost her bid to unseat the state Senate leader two years ago, is trying to knock off Lee, who won by 3 percentage points in 2020 in the 3rd District that geographically borders Arizona.

Peters, a war veteran who lost the GOP congressional primary in 2020, is trying to unseat Horsford, who won reelection by 4.9 percentage points in 2020 in the 4th District, which stretches to Utah.

No GOP presidential candidate has carried Nevada since 2004. But President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by just 2.4 percentage points in 2020. And Nevada gas prices, which are among the highest in the U.S., have fueled discontent about the economy and inflation.

The only safe seat for either party is northern Nevada’s rural 2nd District, where no Democrat has ever won. Six-term Republican Rep. Mark Amodei is all but assured of defeating Democrat Elizabeth Mercedes Krause, the chairwoman of the Nevada Native Caucus who was largely unknown to most voters.

Trump has campaigned in Nevada twice this year, but hasn’t endorsed any of the Republicans running for the House, as he has Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s bid to unseat Gov. Steve Sisolak and ex-Attorney General Adam Laxalt against Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, considered the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrat.

Peters is the congressional candidate who has aligned himself most closely with Trump in his race against Horsford. He urged Republicans in Congress to contest Biden’s win in 2020, and said he wouldn’t have certified it without obtaining more information.

Like other Democrats, Lee has emphasized abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade.

Becker opposes abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and harm to the mother and has the support of groups that oppose abortion rights. But she’s emphasized on the campaign trail that abortion is legal in Nevada through 24 weeks under a voter-approved measure. She says that means any federal limits on abortion would be unconstitutional.

Outside interest groups on both sides sank millions of dollars into that race.

Amodei, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, has captured at least 58% of the vote since he won his first full term in a special election in September 2011. His sprawling northern Nevada district includes Reno, Sparks and Carson City as well as rural areas across the state from south of Lake Tahoe to north of Elko.