CONNECT TO CONGRESS - Kihuen: I plan to remain in public service


It was a significant day in Washington: House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, announced he's retiring, dealing Republicans a serious blow to keeping their house majority heading into a difficult midterm.

“Even though we disagreed on many issues, I do want to thank him for his service to his country,” says Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nevada, who spoke to News 3's Jeff Gillan from the U.S. Capitol in our regular conversation called "Connect to Congress."

Kihuen, a Democrat, is also retiring after one term, prompted by women who alleged last December that he was guilty of sexual misconduct.

Our interview Wednesday did not dredge up that whole controversy.

“Well look, Jeff, I said back in December that I would not run for re-election, and obviously I am a person of my word,” Kihuen said.

Kihuen, however, had been sounding people out about running again. But when candidate filing closed in March, he stayed out.

So now what, I asked the former state senator, who in nine months will be a former congressman?

“I'm not done with public service, and I will continue to be engaged somehow or another back in Las Vegas and the state of Nevada,” he said. He offered no specifics about post-congressional opportunities.

Kihuen's departure sets off a Congressional District 4 scramble: Sixteen candidates are now running, including the district's two former congressmen: Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy.

I asked Kihuen to play pundit.

“The 4th Congressional District has always been a competitive district. Nobody has won this district overwhelmingly,” Kihuen says.

CD4 is both rural and urban. Democrats, at last check, have 31,000 more registered voters than Republicans.

“I believe the Democrats do have the edge, particularly in this election where we're seeing that President Trump is very unpopular,” says Kihuen.

Kihuen will be watching the primary in June, and the election in November, from the sidelines in Congress -- where he tells me he'll still be busy, “and reminding my constituents that we still have a lot of work to do here in the last eight months.”