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Damon Political Report

Horsford launches bid for Congress, stakes claim to Berkley’s district

Updated Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 | 9:13 p.m.

Horsford announces campaign for Congress

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford announced his campaign for Congress Thursday.

In announcing his long-awaited run for Congress on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, clearly staked his claim to what remains a borderless district. But he’s ignoring that fact for now.

“What I’ll say first off, I’m running for this district because I live in it. I grew up in it. I work in it. My kids call it home. It’s where I own my house and pay my mortgage. I wouldn’t run for Congress in any other district but this one,” he said of the 1st Congressional District now represented by U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas.

Of course, CD 1 won’t look like it does today. The state’s redistricting battle, which will determine what Nevada’s political boundaries ultimately look like, is slowly moving its way through the court system.

But in laying claim to his home turf, he is sending a message to potential Democratic primary challengers, notably former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, who have launched congressional campaigns without signaling where they’ll run.

Members of Congress don’t have to live in the district they represent. Titus, for example, didn’t live in the 3rd Congressional District during the single term she served.

As the state Senate majority leader, Horsford could be key in brokering a legislative agreement on how to redraw the state’s lines, wresting the process from the courts.

But he said Thursday the entrenched disagreement over the legal issues — for instance, whether the Voting Rights Act requires a majority Hispanic district be drawn — has always blocked any accord among lawmakers.

Horsford, however, said he’s ready to leave Carson City policy-making, which occurs once every other year, for the daily grind inside the beltway.

He said he’s prepared to work with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and President Barack Obama to get a jobs bill through Congress, focusing on infrastructure investment and promoting the tourism and gaming industries.

“Right now, because our No. 1 industry is gaming, we won’t recover as fast as we all want to until the national economy recovers,” he said.

Horsford made his formal announcement at the Culinary Training Institute that he heads, touting his experience training workers for jobs in the hospitality industry.

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