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Nevada Congressional District 3 candidate Dan Rodimer during a "Stop the Madness" campaign event in Las Vegas on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (Jeff Scheid/Nevada Independent)

Two months after a report from the Associated Press revealed that his then-girlfriend twice called 911 on him in 2018 and a month after an advertising blitz from incumbent Democrat Susie Lee, a new ad from Republican congressional candidate Dan Rodimer is downplaying the incident as “a verbal argument, plain and simple.”

In late July, police records and call recordings obtained by the AP showed that Sarah Rodimer, his former girlfriend turned wife, called Las Vegas police twice in 2018. In one of those calls, she alleged an incident of domestic violence. In the other, she alleged that Rodimer had taken $200,000 worth of cash, guns and jewelry from the couple’s home.

Neither call ended in an arrest, and no charges were ultimately filed. 

Calling the first incident a “verbal argument, plain and simple,” Sarah Rodimer says in the ad that her husband “has never laid a hand on me, not then or ever.”

Framed by the camera with her husband and children eating behind her, she goes on to accuse attack ads from Lee of “exploiting our family” before touting endorsements from a number of Nevada police unions. 

Rodimer’s past run-ins with police have been the subject of public and political scrutiny since the ex-pro wrestler announced his congressional campaign last year. That includes a 2010 incident in which Rodimer was arrested following an alleged battery at a Florida Waffle House — though the case against him was eventually dropped after Rodimer completed an anger management course.

Such incidents have formed the basis of the Democratic advertising targeting Rodimer, including not only the Lee ad about the 911 call, but also ads and mailers from the state Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

National Republicans have continued to back Rodimer in the time since the AP story was published. In September, Rodimer was formally selected for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program, and a handful of high-profile Republican elected officials, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump, have praised Rodimer on the campaign trail over the last month. 

The new Rodimer ad will run online, as well as on broadcast and cable television, though a campaign spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on the amount of money spent on this most recent ad buy. 

The contest between Lee and Rodimer is among several dozen competitive House races nationwide that could decide control of the House in 2020. And though Lee cruised to victory in 2018 — winning the swingy district by 9 points over perennial Republican candidate Danny Tarkanian — a narrow 1-point win in the district by Trump in 2016 has so-far kept Republican hopes alive in 2020. 

As of September, outside election forecasters still predict a slight Democratic edge based on registration and voting trends. The Cook Political Report rates the district as “Lean Democratic,” while the University of Virginia Center for Politics rates the race as “Likely Democratic.”

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