Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank and a left-leaning PAC are launching an organized campaign asking voters to oppose Las Vegas City Council candidate and former Rep. Ruben Kihuen, after he was formally censured by House Ethics officials over credible allegations of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
Swank and the “Nevada Values PAC” — which previously ran digital ads targeting Republican lieutenant governor candidate Michael Roberson — are behind a new website and political action committee called NoMeansNoRuben.com, which features graphic details and text messages released by a House Ethics Committee investigation into his inappropriate conduct around women. Kihuen announced his bid to replace retiring Councilman Bob Coffin on Tuesday.
“No matter how many times these women said no, he kept asking and asking, in more and more inappropriate ways,” the website states. “When we sent Ruben to Carson City and then Washington, he was supposed to use the power we gave him to move our country forward. Instead, he’s coming home in disgrace after using his position to sexually harass women who worked for him and with him.”
Kihuen announced last December that he would not run for re-election following publication of reports in BuzzFeed and The Nevada Independent that he had made consistent, unwanted advances toward at least three women, including a campaign staffer and lobbyist.
In a brief interview, Swank said she lived in the ward that Kihuen was seeking to represent, and was deeply troubled that the former congressman had not sufficiently apologized or taken responsibility for his actions.
“I guess for me, I feel that there hasn’t been learning demonstrated in that short amount of time. I feel he’s not taking seriously what he was found to be doing to staffers,” she said. “Personally, I feel as a woman, we need to stand by women who make true accusations. This is disrespectful of that.”
Swank said the PAC would run social media ads and send out mailers in both English and Spanish throughout the campaign, while acknowledging the difficulty in reaching voters in an off-year municipal election. Nevada Values PAC, which is also supporting the effort, is headed by former Republican-turned-Independent state Sen. Patricia Farley.
The campaign website states that it solely focused on opposing Kihuen and is not supporting other candidates in the race. Other announced candidates including former Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, former city parks commissioner David Lopez, Melissa Clary and Shawn Mooneyham.
A primary election for City Council seats is scheduled for April 2, and unless a candidate takes a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a general election on June 11. Council members serve four-year terms and make about $79,000 a year in base pay, according to Transparent Nevada.