Steven Horsford

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Steven Horsford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 4th district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by District Established
Succeeded by Cresent Hardy
Member of the Nevada Senate
from the 4th district
In office
Preceded by Joe Neal
Succeeded by Kelvin Atkinson
Personal details
Born Steven Alexander Horsford[1]
(1973-04-29) April 29, 1973 (age 43)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dr. Sonya Horsford
Children 3
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada
Alma mater coursework at University of Nevada, Reno
Profession business executive
Website Steven Horsford
Representative Steven Horsford

Steven Alexander Horsford (born April 29, 1973) is an American politician who was the United States Representative for Nevada's 4th congressional district from 2013 to 2015. Horsford previously served in the Nevada Senate, representing Clark County's 4th Senate District from 2005 to 2012. He also served as Nevada's first African-American state senate Majority Leader and was the first African American to represent Nevada in Congress. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

After his election defeat in 2014, Horsford declined to run again in 2016.[2] Instead, he became an executive with business and marketing consulting firm R&R Partners.[3]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Horsford was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He attended Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno, where he studied political science and communications but has not yet completed his degree requirements to graduate.[4][5]


Horsford was the Chief Executive Officer of the Culinary Training Academy (CTA).[6] As a joint management and labor partnership between 26 major properties on the Las Vegas Strip and the Culinary and Bartenders Unions, CALV prepares more than 3,500 students annually for positions in the hospitality industry.[7]

Southern Nevada Investment Board

Horsford worked on the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Board (which later became Workforce Connections) from early 2000 until June 2004. The group organization is a “group of elected and highly motivated individuals whose mission is to get Southern Nevada’s workforce back on its feet through partnering with a wide array of employers and agencies dedicated to investing in the future of our communities.”[8] The organization “distributes funds earmarked for training, apprenticeships and other viable approaches designed to couple the right workers with the right employers.”[8]

He gave up his position on the Board to avoid any appearance of impropriety associated with funds granted to Nevada Partners, a nonprofit he directed.

Nevada Senate[edit]


In 2004, incumbent Democratic State Senator Joe Neal, of Clark County's 4th Senate District, decided to retire in order to run for a seat on the Clark County Commission. Horsford ran and defeated Republican Mabel Florence Lucier 72%–28%.[9][10] He was only the fourth African American to serve as a State Senator since the Nevada Legislature first convened in 1864.[11] In 2008, he won re-election to a second term with 74% of the vote.[12]


He has served in six special sessions and four regular sessions of the Nevada Legislature. In November 2008, Horsford was elected Nevada Senate Majority Leader.[13]

In August 2011, Horsford appointed Senator Mo Denis to lead the caucus election efforts during for the 2012 election cycle, garnering criticism from some in his party due to Denis's sub-par fundraising.[14][15][16] As of August 2012, the Senate Democratic Caucus had out-raised its Republican counterpart $228,128 to $205,250.[17]

In November 2009, Horsford was criticized for illegally parked his SUV with his Senate license plate visible in a handicapped parking space at a park for six hours.[18] Subsequently, Horsford pledged to work harder on disabled rights issues.[19]

In the summer of 2010, Horsford again garnered unwanted media attention when a fundraising letter from his PAC soliciting donations in exchange for private meals or receptions to meet with various Democratic legislative leaders and Senate committee chairs. Following criticism that the letter amounted to "pay to play". He rescinded the letter, discontinued the solicitation program and refunded all donations made in response to the letter.[20]

On April 7, 2011 it was reported that web poker giant PokerStars treated Horsford on a lobbyist-paid trip to the Bahamas prior to introducing legislation that would benefit the online gaming industry.[21][22] Horsford said of the trip, "It was productive. They made a good presentation."[21] Horsford received $37,500 in campaign contributions from PokerStars.[23] Forty-eight Nevada legislators accepted PokerStars campaign contributions. Horsford (and others) later returned the campaign contributions.[24] He personally reimbursed the full cost of the trip.

Committee assignments[edit]

In the most recent session, he served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee and also served on the Senate Committee on Revenue and the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

In October 2011, he announced he would run for Congress, but didn't know at the time which district he would run in because the Nevada state legislature hadn't finished the redistricting maps.[25] He decided to run in the newly created 4th District, which includes the northern portion of Clark County, as well as all or part of the rural counties of Lincoln, White Pine, Nye, Esmeralda, Mineral, and Douglas.[26] However, the bulk of the district's population is in Clark County, and President Barack Obama would have carried it with 56 percent of the vote had it existed in 2008.[27]

Horsford was due to face former state representative John Lee in the Democratic primary. However, Lee dropped out in November, effectively handing the nomination to Horsford. He defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian in November by 50%–42%. Although Tarkanian won the rural counties in the district by margins of better than 2-to-1, Horsford carried Clark County, home to four-fifths of the district's vote, by 28,800 votes.[citation needed]

2014 election[edit]

Horsford was defeated by Republican challenger Cresent Hardy on November 4, 2014.[28]


Horsford's two-year term began on January 3, 2013. He was a member of the House Progressive Caucus, and is the only member who supported the September 30, 2013, continuing resolution that contained a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.[29]

Committee assignments[edit]

Other political activities[edit]

2008 presidential election[edit]

Horsford was intimately involved in securing Nevada’s role in hosting the second in the nation Presidential Caucus in 2008. He was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy.[30] During the early caucus season, he chaired a steering committee of community leaders that headed the campaign in the state. During the general election, Horsford co-chaired the campaign, helping lead President Obama to victory in Nevada.[31]

National committees[edit]

Horsford was the national vice chairman of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and served as the Democratic National Committeeman for the State of Nevada.[32] He is a member of the Democratic National Committee's Change Commission, and a member of the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee.[33]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Dr. Sonya Horsford, a professor of educational leadership at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. They have three children, Benjamin, Bryson and Ella.[33]

He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Steven Horsford – $4,800 in Political Contributions for 2008". Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ Levinson, Alexis (March 19, 2015). "With Horsford Out, Nevada Democrats Look Down Line". Roll Call. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ "R&R Partners". Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Political Science Department | University of Nevada, Reno". Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ Damon, Anjeanette (March 6, 2011). "For the record, Horsford has not graduated from UNR". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ "News". September 11, 2001. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Culinary Academy of Las Vegas – New Name, New Look, New Brand". Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Workforce Connections". 
  9. ^ "NV Senate Clark District 4 Race – Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Steven Horsford for US Congress". Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Steven Horsford to run for U.S. Congress". The Nevada View. October 16, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  12. ^ "NV State Senate – Clark 04 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Nevada Legislature". Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Steve Sebelius: Horsford Making a Congressional Move?". August 31, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ McGrath, David. "Democrats wonder whether a nice guy can lead – Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 | 2 a.m.". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ McGrath, David. "Donors signaling they want GOP to take over the state Senate – Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 | 2 a.m.". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ "2012 Contributions & Expenses Report #2". Nevada Sec. of State. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ francjmeyer. "Sen. Steven Horsford parked in handicap spot for hours – Elsewhere". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Senator Horsford speaks out about illegally parking in a handicapped spot". 13 Action News. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Panel Determination" (PDF). In the matter of the request for opinion concerning the contduct of Steven Horsford. Nevada Commission on Ethics. 
  21. ^ a b Ralson, Jon (April 7, 2011). "PokerStars took lawmakers to Bahamas, England before Internet gaming bill introduced". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ Stutz, Howard (April 16, 2011). "Lawmaker targets PokerStars for role in Nevada politics". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ Ralson, Jon (April 18, 2011). "All but 15 lawmakers got PokerStars cash, report says; money being returned". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Horsford Announces Congressional Run, Says He Has "Very Effective" Campaign Team". Nevada News Bureau. 
  25. ^ Myers, Laura (October 13, 2011). "Horsford pursues seat in Congress, vows to help Nevada families". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Democrats Look to Pick Up Two Seats in Nevada". Roll Call. October 19, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  28. ^ Horsford defeated by challenger, Cresent Hardy,, November 4, 2014; accessed November 23, 2014.
  29. ^ 'Who Crossed Over in the House?', Washington Post, Aaron Blake, 30 September 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  30. ^ texex (June 8, 2008). "Early supporters of Obama stand to gain". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Horsford, Steven A. (1973- )". Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  32. ^ Fiddler, Carolyn. "Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee". Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "Steven Horsford for US Congress". Retrieved February 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
District established
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 4th congressional district

January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Succeeded by
Cresent Hardy