Mexican-American Dem flips Nevada House seat
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State Sen. Ruben Kihuen (D) is projected to defeat Rep. Cresent Hardy (R) to represent Nevada's 4th district, riding a wave of growing Latino participation in the state.

Kihuen, 36, will be the first Mexican-born congressman in Nevada history, and the first Hispanic to represent the state since 1997.


The Democratic pickup came as no surprise in a district rated by the Cook Political Report as a D+4. Hardy unseated former Rep. Steven Horsford (D) in 2012, in a surprise win for Republicans.

"It’s a very Democratic district, what happened in 2014 was a fluke," said Jon Ralston, a well-known Nevada political journalist and pundit.

Kihuen benefitted from demographic change in the state, where 17.2 percent of eligible voters are Hispanic, according to the Pew Research Center.

The state's setting as a battleground for two House seats, retiring Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidKavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow Dems can’t ‘Bork’ Kavanaugh, and have only themselves to blame Dem senator: Confidential documents would 'strongly bolster' argument against Kavanaugh's nomination MORE's seat and a competitive presidential race also helped Kihuen. He received personal support from President Obama, who recorded a radio ad for Kihuen, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraIndustry wins big in methane rules rollback Overnight Energy: Watchdog to investigate EPA over Hurricane Harvey | Panel asks GAO to expand probe into sexual harassment in science | States sue over methane rules rollback Some states back plaintiff suing DHS over Haitians' protected status MORE.

Both parties invested heavily in the race. 

According consulting firm Solidarity Strategies, the campaign arms and official House super PACs of both parties had reserved $11,415,000 in advertising up to Nov. 3. Democrats outspent Republicans by $853,000 in the race.

Hardy dropped his endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE in October after videos were released showing Trump bragging about groping women. But Kihuen continued to hammer him, using Trump's unpopularity with Latinos and college educated voters.

Hardy struck back at Kihuen with allegations that he was connected to a corruption investigation involving the Ramirez Group, a public relations firm which lists Kihuen as a principal. Kihuen is on leave from the Ramirez Group, which has said is fully collaborating with authorities in the investigation.

Kihuen, a former professional soccer player, is expected to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as its youngest member.