Titus, Lee, Becker winning; Black and Peters in close race

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joins with Culinary Union members Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Las Vegas. (G ...

Incumbent Rep. Dina Titus, the dean of the Nevada congressional delegation, easily defeated progressive challenger Amy Vilela Tuesday to retain the seat she’s held since 2012.

In the 3rd District, it appeared incumbent Rep. Susie Lee will face off against attorney April Becker in the November general election. And Air Force veteran Sam Peters was locked in a close race with Assemblywoman Annie Black to win the right to challenge Rep. Steven Horsford in November.

In the 2nd District, perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian appeared headed for his fourth loss in a race for Congress — and seventh loss overall — as incumbent Rep. Mark Amodei was headed for re-election.

Results were preliminary, with not all Nevada counties reporting, and just 13 out of 125 Election Day voting centers posting the outcomes of races. Numbers will change as additional returns and outstanding mail ballots are counted.

1st District

With early results in, Titus, seeking an eighth term, had 84 percent of the in her primary fight with Vilela, a liberal activist endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Mark Robertson — with 30 percent — led the field of eight Republicans, including Carolina Serrano, David Brog and former Rep. Cresent Hardy.

“I just don’t believe Nevada is ready for a socialist,” Titus said of her lopsided victory over Vilela.

Titus said she was humbled by the overwhelming support from Democrats, and waiting for Republicans to determine who her general election opponent.

“We don’t have a clue who is coming out of that primary,” Titus said of the GOP primary race, “ but we are ready for ‘em, whoever it is.”

National Republicans targeted the Titus seat as a possible pickup after redistricting made it more friendly to Republicans. The Legislature moved Democratic precincts into neighboring Congressional Districts 3 and 4 to protect Democratic incumbents there.

Titus acknowledged a general election battle ahead.

“We know it’s going to be hard work,” she said, with low turnout that are typical of midterm elections, rising gas prices and inflation.

But Titus emphasized her House committee work to bring transportation projects to Nevada, gun control efforts to outlaw bump stocks and Covid-19 relief for Las Vegas Valley businesses, workers and residents.

“We’ve got to tell our story of what we’ve accomplished and what we brought to the Valley,” Titus said.

3rd District

Lee easily overcame a challenge from Army veteran Randell Hynes. Both candidates campaigned as moderates, as the 3rd District is considered the only true “swing” district in the state. She had 90 percent of the vote on Tuesday.

“I’ve proven time and time again that I will always prioritize our families,” Lee said in claiming victory.

“I’ve been effective at working across the aisle,” Lee said of her role with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus the crafted a compromise $2 trillion infrastructure bill that will bring $4 billion in projects to Nevada.

In an interview before polls closed, Lee said she said she has worked to improve education, reduce homelessness, lower prescription drug prices and economic recovery after the pandemic.

Lee said she backs measures to reduce gun violence and protect women’s reproductive rights.

“People want common sense gun control and women to make their own decisions,” Lee said.

Becker narrowly lost a race for the state Senate in 2020. She garnered the backing of national Republicans and held a huge money advantage over opponents, according to Federal Election Commission reports. She had 67 percent in early returns.

She said she would take the seat in November from Lee and end House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rule.

“I am grateful to the Republican voters that have entrusted me to be their nominee to flip District 3 and retire Nancy Pelosi and Susie Lee,” Becker said in a statement.

Noel Malgeri, an Iraqi War combat veteran and local businessman, drew support from lawmakers in the Trump-wing of the GOP, and campaigned on issues that included barring critical race theory in public schools. Construction company owner John Kovacs also mounted a bid for the GOP primary and emphasized local issues that included limited water resources in Southern Nevada that could hamper future economic growth.

Other GOP candidates: Clark Bossert and Albert Goldberg.

All failed to slow Becker’s momentum and halt her lopsided win.

4th District

Although Horsford faced no primary opponent, a GOP battle escalated between Peters, also a businessman, and Black. Peters was leading with 47 percent to Black’s 40 percent.

Black said in an email earlier this week that she felt the race would be close.

Peters lost his bid for the GOP nomination in the district two years ago, but rebounded with fundraising and endorsements from conservative Freedom Caucus members in the House. Black was admonished by the Democratic-led state Assembly when she defied a mask mandate during the pandemic, which brought notoriety and endearment from Republican base voters.

2nd District

In Northern Nevada, Amodei was heavily favored against Tarkanian, who was elected to the Douglas County Commission in 2020, in his seventh bid for office. While a Las Vegas resident, Tarkanian lost races for state Senate, secretary of state, Congress and U.S. Senate.

Amodei is seeking a seventh term. He campaigned on protecting 2nd Amendment rights, border security and high energy prices tied to Biden administration policies.

Amodei was leading with 55 percent; Tarkanian had 31 percent.

Two other Republicans raised money in the race, Joel Beck and Brian Nadell, according to FEC filings. Only three candidates for the Democratic nomination raised campaign funds, and none more than $10,000.

The three districts in the Las Vegas Valley were being heavily watched by the national parties and congressional campaign analysts.

Non-partisan prognosticators such as The Cook Political Report have ranked all three Southern Nevada congressional districts as competitive because of the political landscape that leaves Democrats facing stiff headwinds in November.

Republicans need just five seat to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives from Democrats.

Lee said the frustration in the electorate is understandable.

“Across the country, people are exhausted,” Lee said. “There was an expectation that COVID would be in the rearview mirror 100 percent — and it is not.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.