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GOP lawmaker Heidi Kasama to run for Congress, challenge Susie Lee

Kasama, first elected to the Assembly in 2020, said she will “fight hard to change the direction of our country” in announcing plans to run for Congress.
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2024

Second-term Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas) announced plans Monday to run for Nevada’s Congressional District 3, pledging to focus her campaign on education, economic development and public safety.  

The battleground district, held by Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV), includes parts of southwestern Las Vegas and a significant portion of unincorporated Clark County. Hotly contested in past election cycles, voter registration data indicates the district has a Democratic registered voter lean of 5.5 percentage points.

“Today we see more crime, higher living expenses, and uncontrolled health care costs. Students are graduating with a lack of basic education and are unprepared to enter the workforce. There is a basic lack of accountability and personal responsibility,” Kasma said in a press release. “This is not the American way of life I grew up with. I will fight hard to change the direction of our country for the sake of my grandchildren and all Nevadans.”

Although Democrats have controlled Congressional District 3 since the 2016 election, the seat is often one of the state’s most-watched battleground districts with the race often rated as a toss-up among election analysts. Lee, first elected to the seat in 2018, defeated Republican April Becker in the 2022 election by about 4 percentage points.

Kasama said in her announcement she was motivated to run for the seat to help Nevadans achieve the American Dream, an essential part of her childhood as the daughter of immigrants from Norway. She added that her husband is an immigrant from Japan and has benefited from the same opportunities as she and her parents.

Kasama is the managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties and manages Kasama Property Management, a real estate brokerage she founded in 2014. During her time in the real estate industry, she also served as the president of the Nevada REALTORS. Before she joined the real estate community, she worked as a certified public accountant.

She was elected to the Assembly in 2020 and re-elected in 2022, representing portions of South Summerlin and Southwest Las Vegas. 

Shortly after Kasama’s announcement, fellow GOP candidate Drew Johnson “welcomed” Kasama to the race in a press release, calling her a “Republican In Name Only” (RINO) and saying he looked forward to “exposing” her liberal record during the primary.

Former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien is also running for the congressional seat in the Republican primary. Helgelien was the youngest person elected to the Senate in 2010, resigning in 2012 after less than one term following a divorce and child custody battle. 

Helgelien later lost a bid for state Senate in 2018. She came into the national spotlight in 2021 after her daughter was charged with murdering her ex-husband.

This story was updated on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023 at 11:35 a.m. to include details about Elizabeth Helgelien’s bid for the seat and to correct the day of the announcement. It was again updated at 2:44 p.m. to include details on the District's boundary.


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