Steven Horsford makes history as Nevada’s 1st black congressman

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Democratic Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate Steven Horsford appears at the Nevada State Democratic Party's election results party at the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter November 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. In one of the nation's most closely watched races, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) retained his seat for a fifth term against Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Democratic Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate Steven Horsford appears at the Nevada State Democratic Party's election results party at the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter November 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. In one of the nation's most closely watched races, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) retained his seat for a fifth term against Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Steven Horsford has cemented his name in Nevada’s history books — first as the state’s first black Democratic state Senate leader, and now as the first black congressman to represent the state in Congress.

On Tuesday night, Horsford won a close election against Republican businessman Danny Tarkanian for the House seat in Nevada’s new 4th district. The large district, which has the highest percentage of African-American voters, stretches across central Nevada, from North Las Vegas to just south of Reno.

Tarkanian, the son of former University of Nevada Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian and Las Vegas City councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, was initially given dim election chances, especially after making three previously unsuccessful attempts at office.

Toward the end of the race, he saw a boost in polls, but Horsford was able to secure the seat in the end.

“Tonight is just the beginning,” he said in a statement. “Hard work lies ahead. Now is the time to make our voices heard in Washington.”

Horsford was first elected to the state Senate in 2004. In 2008, he then became the first black Democratic state Senate leader in Nevada. He’s promised during his term he will work with anyone who is serious and has a good idea, regardless of their party affiliation. He also paid homage to his home of North Las Vegas.

“My roots are in this district, my life’s story is contained in its boundaries, and this community has stuck with me during tough times,” he said in a post-election statement. “Running for office has never been about me, it’s about all of us. We have tackled challenges together, and tonight we celebrate this victory together.”

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