Nevada-4: Cresent Hardy (R)

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Nov. 5, 2014, 5:53 a.m.

Born: June 23, 1957

Fam­ily: Mar­ried, Peri Hardy; four chil­dren

Re­li­gion: Mor­mon

Edu­ca­tion: At­ten­ded Dixie State Col­lege

Ca­reer: Gen­er­al con­tract­or and con­struc­tion com­pany co-own­er; board mem­ber, as­sor­ted civic groups; Mes­quite pub­lic works dir­ect­or, 1986-93

Elec­ted Of­fice: Nevada As­sembly, 2011-present; Mes­quite City Coun­cil, 1997-2002

In one of biggest blows to House Demo­crats, Re­pub­lic­an state le­gis­lat­or Cresent Hardy de­feated well-fin­anced 4th Dis­trict Demo­crat­ic Rep. Steven Horsford after tak­ing ad­vant­age of grow­ing dis­con­tent with Pres­id­ent Obama and de­scrib­ing him­self as a “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­vat­ive.”

A fifth-gen­er­a­tion Nevadan, Hardy was raised in the rur­al com­munity of Mes­quite, where he worked on his fath­er’s ranch. He at­ten­ded Dixie State Col­lege in St. George, Utah, and went on to serve in a range of po­s­i­tions in the city and Clark County. He worked as dir­ect­or of pub­lic works for Mes­quite from 1986 to 1993 and served on sev­er­al boards over­see­ing the wa­ter dis­trict and re­gion­al flood-con­trol dis­trict. In 1996, he won a seat on the Mes­quite City Coun­cil that he held un­til 2002.

Hardy eas­ily won elec­tion to the Nevada As­sembly in 2010, cam­paign­ing against the “tax-and-spend” policies of the Demo­crat­ic-con­trolled Le­gis­lature, and be­came as­sist­ant minor­ity lead­er in 2013.

In the June GOP primary to chal­lenge Horsford, Hardy de­feated tea-party act­iv­ist Ni­ger In­nis, but early in the gen­er­al-elec­tion cam­paign against Horsford he struggled to raise money. He also suffered from a series of gaffes, in­clud­ing re­peat­ing Mitt Rom­ney’s un­pop­u­lar com­ment that 47 per­cent of the coun­try re­lied on gov­ern­ment as­sist­ance. Earli­er in the year, he said he op­posed the U.S. Sen­ate-passed Em­ploy­ment Non-Dis­crim­in­a­tion Act that would bar work­place dis­crim­in­a­tion on the basis of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion or gender iden­tity. He said the meas­ure amoun­ted to a “se­greg­a­tion” law and “puts one class of per­son over an­oth­er.”

Yet he con­tin­ued to speak about his sup­port for a flat tax and com­pre­hens­ive im­mig­ra­tion re­form as he cam­paigned against first-ter­mer Horsford, who had been seen by his party as a rising star. Two weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day, Re­pub­lic­ans began early vot­ing in large num­bers and Cross­roads Grass­roots Policy Strategies, a su­per PAC with ties to con­ser­vat­ive strategist Karl Rove, spent $1 mil­lion ad­vert­ising against Horsford.

In the fi­nal days, Hardy sought to em­phas­ize Horsford’s ties to Obama; in his own cam­paign ad, Hardy fea­tured au­dio from Horsford’s ra­dio ad in which Obama cred­its the Demo­crat’s work on the Nevada eco­nomy. He aired it in rur­al areas of the dis­trict where he wanted to boost voter turnout. Labor uni­ons hit the streets in the days lead­ing up to the elec­tion to cam­paign on Horsford’s be­half, but it proved to be too little too late.

Christina Lyons contributed to this article.
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