In an election that saw victories for no shortage of ultraconservative loons, among the most stunning upsets Tuesday was the defeat of first-term Democratic congressman Steven Horsford of Nevada by GOP state Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, who has already cemented his status as one of the nuttiest members of the 114th Congress' incoming freshman class.
Hardy ousted Horsford in Nevada's 4th Congressional District, which includes North Las Vegas, the Sin City's northern suburbs, and a handful of rural counties. The Democrat won the newly created district by 8 points in 2012, and it wasn't until late in the cycle that observers saw Horsford in danger of losing his seat. But amid a GOP wave that looks likely to deliver the party its biggest House majority since the Truman administration, Horsford fell to Hardy by 3 points.
That loss came despite Hardy's record of inflammatory rhetoric and campaign stumbles. The Republican first garnered national attention back in February, when he compared the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination against LGBT people, with Jim Crow segregation. “When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow," Hardy said in explaining his opposition to the measure. “By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws," he added.
Hardy was back in the headlines in late September, when the Nevada Democratic Party posted a video of the candidate asserting that Mitt Romney was right about the so-called 47 percent, the portion of Americans the 2012 GOP presidential nominee charged "are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims" because they paid no federal income tax.
“Can I say that without getting in trouble like Gov. Romney? The 47% is true. It’s bigger now,” Hardy claimed, falsely.
Pressed by national media on his remark, Hardy stood by it, declaring, “Congress is full of politicians that poll test every word, never take a stand and rarely speak the truth. Many have traded their courage for political expediency and ambition. That isn’t me.”
Hardy was actually the Republican establishment's favored candidate over an even more right-wing challenger. But, underscoring the convergence between the GOP establishment and Tea Party ideology, Hardy ran on an unabashedly conservative platform, calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, railing against a "bloated" federal government, and denouncing "invasive" regulations.
Come January, you can call him "congressman."