Wednesday, June 13, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Danny Tarkanian and Susie Lee are set to square off for Nevada's Congressional District 3 seat after emerging victorious in their respective primary election races.
The seat was left vacant by Democrat Jacky Rosen, who will face GOP incumbent Dean Heller for his U.S. Senate seat, after her primary win Tuesday night.
Tarkanian pulled out of the Senate race at the suggestion of President Donald Trump, who is among the political figures who support his congressional run. Lee is backed by the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden, former Sen. Harry Reid and others.
With that backing, Tarkanian will focus his campaign heading into the general election on Trump-backed ideas.
“We’re going to distinguish our political position, our ideology,” Tarkanian said. “She’s in favor of open borders and I think the vast majority of Americans do not want to have open borders. She believes in sanctuary cities; I firmly disagree with that.”
The two differ on several key areas including education, as Lee wants to put money toward public school, while Tarkanian supports vouchers for private schools.
“The answer to our education problem is school choice,” he said. "When you create more competition, you can always create a better product at a lower cost and we don’t have any competition in our school system. We need to give the parents the right to choose what schooling is best for their children, and I’m going to be a big advocate of that on the federal level.”
Lee, an education advocate and nonprofit leader in Southern Nevada, plans to campaign for issues that she believes impact working families, like lower health care and prescription drug costs, investments in education and vocational training, and attracting quality jobs.
“I have spent my career delivering real results, whether it was providing critical services to Las Vegas' homeless population, or addressing the dropout crisis as president of Communities in Schools,” Lee said in a statement. “I am proud that voters trust me to deliver fresh leadership, and I am grateful to all of the members of our growing grass-roots coalition who have made this victory possible.
Tarkanian said he is ready to face the “attacking” television ads that’s he’s dealt with in previous races, which he thinks will play a big role in the race.
“It always bothers you when you see anything negative about yourself, but I grew up listening to people talk horribly about my father (Jerry Tarkanian) that everybody knew wasn’t true, but you have to learn to live with it,” he said. “I’ve won one defamation lawsuit already on these ads, and I’m in the process of winning a second one.”
Tarkanian, who has won multiple primary elections but has yet to win a general election, believes if he sticks with his guns and downplays those ads he’ll change his track record.
“We have to do a better job in letting people know that these snide attacks have nothing to do with Washington, D.C.,” he said. “If (voters) focus on the issues — securing the borders, no sanctuary cities, taking care of American workers first and not intervening in wars outside of the U.S. unless there’s a national security threat — these are things that most Americans agree with.”
Lee said that she’ll count on her previous success in the Las Vegas Valley, which she thinks will sway voters come fall.
“Voters will have a clear choice to make in November,” she said. “I know that they will embrace my proven track record of solving problems and improving lives for families in Southern Nevada."