Steven Horsford, the state's Democratic Senate majority leader, won a close election in the new district that encompasses Las Vegas's northern suburbs and some central Nevada counties. Although the district leans Democratic in registration, it turned into a tighter race than expected before Horsford beat Republican Danny Tarkanian to become the first African-American elected to Congress from Nevada.
Horsford was born in Las Vegas in 1973 and grew up in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood in West Las Vegas, the historic heart of the city's black community. The oldest of four, he had responsibility forced on him early in life. His mother, now sober for 20 years, struggled with drug and alcohol problems, and his grandmother required constant care. He attended the University of Nevada-Reno, where he studied political science and communication, but had to drop out to support his family when his father was killed.
The next few years were turbulent. Horsford worked a variety of jobs and struggled to keep up financially. Between 1998 and 2002, he defaulted on loans, missed court dates, and was sued for unmade payments, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Several judgments were made against him, and he eventually settled all debts. Horsford's campaign attributed the problems to bad luck following a car crash in the late 1990s and cited them as evidence that he understood the financial woes of hard-hit Nevadans.