Staff from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were in Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with former Secretary of State Ross Miller, hoping to recruit him to run for Nevada's 3rd District, according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting.
Incumbent Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., is expected to enter the open-seat Senate contest to replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — leaving vacant this competitive Clark County-based seat. And Democrats say Miller would be a top recruit.
Termed out from his role as secretary of state, Miller barely lost a race for attorney general in 2014 to Republican Adam Laxalt, in a year Democrats were otherwise trounced in the Silver State.
Miller, 39, was the youngest secretary of state elected in Nevada back in 2006. He is also the son of popular former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller. He gained some notoriety while secretary of State by winning his first mixed martial arts fight in 2012. He told the Las Vegas Sun he had been sparring since 2008.
A source with knowledge of Miller's thinking said he hasn’t made a decision yet, but is seriously considering it.
Democrats also met with state Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford while in Las Vegas, but multiple Democratic operatives said Miller would be the stronger candidate.
"Anybody in Nevada or D.C. would admit that he’s the guy," one operative said of Miller.
Nevada's 3rd District is the most competitive in the state; President Barack Obama carried it in 2008 and in 2012.
But Heck, who rode the 2010 GOP wave into office, proved to be a strong campaigner. He won re-election in the redrawn 3rd District in 2012 with 50 percent of the vote and routed his Democratic opponent two years later with 60 percent of the vote.
In an open-seat race, Democrats will heavily target the seat for a pickup as the party looks to chip away at Republicans' 30-seat majority.
On the Republican side, state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson is expected to run when Heck announces for Senate.
Roberson could also face a primary from Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers. Beers, who is a friend of Heck's, had announced a bid for Senate. But he dropped out of the race this week , and operatives in the state speculate Beers could run for the 3rd District.
Nevada's 3rd District is currently rated a Republican Favored contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
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