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The Nevada Independent

Kihuen, dogged by sex harassment allegations, considering running again despite previously announcing retirement

Jon Ralston
Jon Ralston
Ralston Reports
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Updated, 10:15 AM , 3/7/18

When asked in DC by The Indy's Humberto Sanchez about whether he will run, Kihuen said on Wednesday morning:  “If you're talking about the reconsideration, I have no comment. I have to meet with some constituents now, Thank you.”

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Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who announced last year that he was retiring after multiple allegations of sexual harassment, is considering filing for re-election, multiple sources have confirmed.

Kihuen has contacted donors, the Culinary Union and even former Sen. Harry Reid about the possibility of running again, saying he has received encouragement to do so. He has until a week from Friday to file.

It’s not clear if Reid, who considers Kihuen a protégé, gave him any sustenance. But it is unlikely, especially because the ex-senator already knows what previous polling showed about the congressman’s tangential ties to an FBI probe of his friend, Ricki Barlow, the ex-city councilman who recently pleaded guilty and resigned. The polling was done long before the sexual harassment stories broke when Kihuen was considered as a possible Senate candidate against Dean Heller and showed the FBI story would have devastated his chances.

Neither Kihuen nor his spokesman would reply to inquiries from The Nevada Independent this week. But sources confirm that frontrunner Steven Horsford, the former congressman who announced he would run for his old seat after Kihuen said he would not, and other Democrats are furious about Kihuen’s possible filing.

I’m also told the Culinary plans to stick with Horsford even if Kihuen decides to file. Culinary officials declined to comment on Kihuen’s recent contacts with them.

High-level Democratic strategists do not believe Kihuen could win the primary, but with multiple candidates expected to file, including state Sen. Pat Spearman, it’s not impossible. What they really fear is that Kihuen will cost them the seat, which was previously held by GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy, who is running again.

Kihuen has been accused by at least three women of sexual misconduct, and some Democratic leaders in the House have called on him to resign. He announced in December that he would not run again.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating the allegations.

 

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