- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A national conservative group said Tuesday it is buying $820,000 in TV ads aimed at a heavily favored incumbent Democrat in a large, diverse Nevada congressional district.

Crossroads GPS is placing ads targeting Rep. Steven Horsford that will run from Wednesday through Election Day in the Las Vegas area. Spokesman Paul Lindsay said the spots will communicate the group’s message and did not elaborate.

Horsford characterized the TV blitz, which will cost almost as much money as his campaign has spent on all expenses this election cycle, as an outside attempt to buy his House seat. Crossroads GPS, which airs issue ads and does not disclose its donors, was co-founded by GOP operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

“Karl Rove and his anonymous billionaire backers know nothing about Nevada’s 4th Congressional District,” Horsford said. “He does not care about Nevada; he is making a buy because he thinks we are numbers on a spreadsheet.”

The purchase marked a twist in what was previously a lopsided, low-key race. Horsford has raised five times the campaign cash as his Republican opponent Cresent Hardy. In addition, the 4th Congressional District leans Democratic, with 43 percent of active voters registered as Democrats; 32 percent as Republican; and 19 percent registered nonpartisan.

The district includes urban North Las Vegas and wide swaths of rural Nevada stretching to Yerington and Ely in the north.

Hardy, a two-term Nevada assemblyman, also has been on the defensive after concurring with Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment in a recent town hall in Mesquite. Romney was widely criticized during his 2012 presidential campaign after saying 47 percent of voters don’t pay income taxes and believe they are victims.

After the videotaped comments came to light, Hardy issued a statement noting that he grew up on a ranch and has “never been slick or polished.”

Horsford only recently launched TV ads in the Las Vegas market. The commercials focus on his accomplishments during his first term in Congress, such as ushering bills through the House that secure federal land in northern Nevada for local development and co-leading a caucus supporting a proposed Interstate 11 between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

His campaign has purchased about $100,000 in air time for the month of October, according to records from the Federal Communications Commission.

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Associated Press writer Donna Cassata in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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