Anyone who watched Tony Lane go hard in the paint for the Runnin’ Rebels knew that if he followed through on his intention to run for Congress in CD4, he’d be a tough adversary. After announcing his candidacy as a one of the Republicans hoping to take on incumbent Steven Horsford, Lane’s team created a website that told the story of his evolution from hardscrabble boyhood in Philly, scholarship star for UNLV and a journeyman pro career that took him all over Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. It’s a formidable resume — once a power forward, always a power forward.
Instead, the Nevada Globe can exclusively report Lane has decided to drop out of the race and endorse Assemblywoman Annie Black, who announced her own candidacy for the CD4 seat just yesterday. According to a tip from a reliable source with inside knowledge of both campaigns, Lane has decided to throw his support to the firebrand Black, who has built a resistance brand as an Assemblywoman who was censured for declining to wear a mask in the Capital. “Tony Lane is stepping down from the CD4 race and will be supporting Assemblywoman Annie Black for Congress,” the source told The Nevada Globe.
In an appearance on the Veterans in Politics videocast back in October, first-time candidate Lane conceded that he wasn’t fully up to speed on all the issues a Congressman would face. He nodded to the right and alluded to an effort to “Make Nevada Great Again,” but when water shortages came up, Lane admitted he’d need to study the issue more deeply.
The old CD 4, which covers a vast territory just north of Las Vegas and spanning the state east to west, leaned slightly Democratic. The Cook “Partisan Voter Index” scored it a D+3 district, making it 3% more Democratic than the national average. That’s essentially the middle of the pack (187 out of 435), and makes it a competitive seat in a year in which Republicans are expected to enjoy several structural advantages. Those include a Democratic president whose approval ratings are nearing record lows for a Democrat, as well as the ordinary headwinds any incumbent president’s party faces during his first midterm election.
It’s not fully clear how the recent redistricting will impact CD4. The district is over 30% Hispanic, but that demographic has been trending more Republican, with a recent Wall Street Journal poll finding Latin Voters evenly split between the two major parties for the first time ever.
Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV1), for one, is of the opinion that the mapmaking process, totally controlled by Democrats, actually did incumbent Democrats a severe disservice. She told an AFL-CIO town hall in December, “I totally got fucked by the Legislature on my district. I’m sorry to say it like that, but I don’t know any other way to say it.” That might have led some to think that some of the safety of her 1st District was compromised to shore up the 4th, but that’s not how Titus reads the new maps.
Titus said the Democrats did more to hurt their own Congressional chances in the state than Republicans could have done.
“You read that the Republicans are using gerrymandering to cut out Democratic seats, but they didn’t have to in this state. We did it to ourselves.” According to the Nevada Current, Titus said that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “were stunned” by the decision.
“They couldn’t believe a Democratic legislature and governor would do this … They could have created two safe seats for themselves and one swing. That would have been smart. Steven (Horsford) and mine and then a swing. No, no, we have to have three that are very likely going down.”
So that’s a savvy incumbent Democrat adding her voice to the idea that Horsford is vulnerable. Assemblywoman Black, riding high on the endorsement of a high-profile challenger—a conservative African American, it’s worth noting, in a race against an incumbent African American in a district that’s over 15% Black—might just benefit from the state’s changing map and the nation’s changing mood. She faces several fellow Republicans, including Air Force veteran Sam Peters and former championship boxer Jessie Vargas, whose recent exit from the Democratic Party might appeal to disillusioned Latino voters.
The Nevada Globe reached out to the Lane campaign for comment and had not heard back by press time. This story will be updated should they choose to respond.
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