Former Nevada state Treasurer and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Schwartz is running for a suburban Las Vegas congressional seat held by Democratic Rep. Susie Lee, Schwartz told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
Schwartz, a businessman who lost a GOP primary for governor in 2018, said that he is running as a "free-market, private enterprise" candidate who thinks that "government does not provide all the answers."
Schwartz said he's running to provide a contrast to a leftward lurch by the Democratic Party, particularly the presidential candidates, and the embrace of socialism by some Democratic candidates, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"They're trying to give away more free things than the other candidates," he said of the 2020 field.
He said Lee votes in lockstep with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and he doesn't feel she represents Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, which covers southwest Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City and extends down to the borders with California and Arizona.
Lee's campaign released a statement saying that the congresswoman "is confident that her bipartisan, problem-solving efforts to increase public education funding, lower health care costs, and advocate on behalf of southern Nevada veterans will continue to resonate with voters. Dan Schwartz, on the other hand, has been overwhelmingly rejected even by his own party in multiple elections."
Schwartz in 2012 lost a Republican primary in the race for a neighboring House seat, Nevada's 4th Congressional District.
Lee first won the politically divided 3rd House seat in 2018 with a decisive win over Republican challenger Danny Tarkanian, who closely aligned himself with President Donald Trump.
Schwartz believes Tarkanian's run was hampered by a national anti-Trump sentiment in the midterm elections. "Danny sort of had to run on a ticket that was running into a pretty violent headwind at the national level," he said.
But Schwartz, who said he supports the president, said he doesn't know if having Trump's name on the ballot in 2020 will help or hurt his changes in the Nevada race.
"I don't know," Schwartz said. "It really comes down to whether people agree with my thesis that we are fighting democrat socialism."
Schwartz said that if elected, he wants to advocate for bringing more technology jobs to Nevada, universal pre-school and a revamp of the health care system, noting that national Republicans failed in their attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
He suggests the U.S. could adopt a bifurcated private insurance system in which consumers could sign up for basic plans that cover general doctor visits or more routine medical needs, and supplement that coverage by signing up for additional insurance that would cover more serious, chronic medical needs.
He said he does not support an individual mandate that requires people have insurance and instead says the onus should be on insurance companies to offer plans that people want to buy.
At least one other Republican, Zachary WalkerLieb, has filed to run for the seat.