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.