By Sean Whaley | Nevada News Bureau
CARSON CITY — Danny Tarkanian narrowly beat out state Sen. Barbara Cegavske in the Republican contest in the 4th Congressional District race in Tuesday’s primary, surviving a tough challenge in the contest to see who will face Democrat state Sen. Steven Horsford in the November general election.
The son of former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, Tarkanian overcame bad publicity surrounding news that he and his family face a $17 million judgment in a civil real estate case in California.
The race was close, with Tarkanian ending up with 32 percent of the vote to 28 percent for Cegavske. Cegavske won the more populous Clark County in the district that stretches across much of rural Nevada. Tarkanian made up the difference with strong showings in those rural counties, including Esmeralda, Lyon, Mineral and White Pine counties.
But Tarkanian faces an uphill battle in the new congressional district created in Nevada as a result of the 2010 census. The district, composed of parts of Clark County and several rural counties, has a 113,000 to 90,000 Democratic voter edge as of the close of the primary.
The big surprise of the night in the primary may have been the overwhelming defeat of state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, in the Democratic primary against newcomer Patricia Spearman. Spearman had 63 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Lee.