Former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, of Nevada, said Wednesday that he won’t run for Congress in 2016 after his unexpected loss in November but he hasn’t ruled out a future bid for public office.
Horsford said he wants to spend more time with his family and focus on his new job in the private sector. The communications and public affairs firm R&R Partners announced Wednesday that Horsford’s newly formed company, Resource+, will partner with the firm and focus on diversity marketing and workforce development.
The move came as a surprise to Democrats who considered Horsford a strong contender to take back the seat in 2016, a presidential year when conditions are expected to be more favorable for the party.
“I think all of us were under the impression he was going to run again,” said Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen.
Horsford was a state senator for a decade before he represented Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, which includes urban North Las Vegas and a large swath of rural, central Nevada. He lost to Republican state Assemblyman Cresent Hardy by less than 3 percentage points in 2014.
“In just one congressional term, Steven was able to accomplish great things for Nevada,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement. “While I am disappointed he has decided not to run, I know he will continue to serve Nevada for many years to come. His work isn’t done.”
R&R said Horsford will be a senior vice president and will serve as managing director of the agency’s Washington, D.C., office. Horsford has homes in Las Vegas and in Washington.
He called the move a homecoming. He started his career with R&R in 1996.
The focus has turned toward other Nevada Democrats who are considered rising stars. Kihuen, who campaigned for Congress in 2012, and state Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford both said they were focused on their work in the Legislature for now.
Former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who lost a bid for lieutenant governor in November, said she’s “strongly considering” running for the seat in 2016.
Horsford declined to say which Democrat he’d like to see win his old seat.
“Let the dust settle, and let’s see who decides to throw their names out,” Horsford said. “There’s plenty of time for that process to unfold.”