Palestinian-American Jesse Sbaih loses Nevada Democratic primary to Reid-backed candidate

US Politics
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Jesse Sbaih, the Jordanian-born Nevada Congressional candidate who said he was discouraged from running by Sen. Harry Reid because of his Muslim faith, lost badly in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Sbaih, whose Palestinian-refugee parents immigrated from Jordan when Jesse was 11, got 12.81 percent of the vote compared with 62.19 percent for Jacky Rosen, Reid’s hand-picked candidate.  Both were seeking office for the first time.  Rosen is president of a Henderson, Nevada synagogue.

In March Sbaih made news when he asserted Reid told him, “You are not going to be able to win because you are a Muslim.”  Reid’s organization denied religion was the reason for Reid’s refusal to back the novice candidate.

Sbaih said Wednesday it was hard to overcome the might of the establishment. Rosen had the support of the Reid organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and endorsements from powerful unions. Against that, Sbaih said he had “a hard time having [my] voice heard.”

Rosen will face off in November against Republican Danny Tarkanian in Nevada’s Third Congressional District.  The district has been rated a toss-up.

In the end, how much did Sbaih’s religion factor into his defeat? “It’s hard to get inside someone’s head to learn if religion played a part” in a voter’s decision, he said, adding hopefully, “[Voters] should look at candidates on their merits.  Someone’s religion should not play a part.”

Sbaih said he called Rosen after returns were in and pledged to support her to unite the party.

About Mary Ann Weston

Mary Ann Weston, a longtime volunteer with American Friends Service Committee’s Chicago Middle East Program, recently relocated to Washington, D.C.

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2 Responses

  1. Nevada Ned
    June 15, 2016, 3:10 pm

    I live in Nevada’s third congressional district, the open seat for which Jacky Rosen and Jesse Sbaih were running. I got a lot of postcards from the Rosen campaign. A volunteer from the Nevada Democratic party knocked on my door to support Rosen. Rosen also had a lot of TV ads.

    The Sbaih campaign sent me one postcard, and I only saw one TV ad. It was a nearly invisible campaign. I voted for Jesse, but I only have one vote.

    In the general election in November, Rosen may well win. Her Republican opponent, Danny Tarkanian, has a lot of baggage and a history of running for office (and losing).

    I dunno how much campaign Jesse had, but it looks like he was badly outspent.

    None of this contradicts the suspicion (voiced by Mondoweiss) that Sbaih was a victim of anti-Palestinian racism.

  2. Blownaway
    June 16, 2016, 12:21 am

    Good riddance to Harry Reid this guy will be a short timer.

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