- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The president of the conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute has resigned his post to become the fourth Republican seeking the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat.

Andy Matthews announced Monday that he’s joining the race to replace Republican Rep. Joe Heck, who’s running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. Other Republicans vying for the congressional seat include state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson and former congressional candidates Danny Tarkanian and Annette Teijeiro.

“Washington, D.C., taxes too much, spends too much and regulates too much,” Matthews said in his announcement. “And politicians today spend too much time trying to run our lives. We need leaders who recognize that fact and are committed to ending the assault on our freedoms.”

Matthews described Roberson, who has the support of Gov. Brian Sandoval and other prominent Republican officeholders, as his chief rival and a liberal. He pointed to the state senator’s role this spring in passing a major tax package that was backed by Sandoval and frequently criticized by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

“I think there’s a very clear and stark contrast,” Matthews said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Initially when he ran for office, he introduced himself to voters as a limited-government conservative. His voting record tells a completely different story.”

Matthews, 36, is originally from Massachusetts and came to Nevada in 2006 to manage conservative Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers’ unsuccessful campaign for governor. He has never before run for public office, but he pointed to the organization’s efforts to kill the margins-tax ballot initiative, introduce the concept of education savings accounts and educate teachers on how to leave their unions.

“I think if you look at everyone running in this race, I think I’ve got the strongest record of accomplishment in terms of free-market principles,” he said.

He thinks that work will help him face off with the powerful Roberson, Matthews said.

“I certainly suspect (Roberson) will have a well-funded campaign,” he said. “There are a lot of big names in politics who are supporting him. But I think this campaign is going to come down to who has the most compelling message.”

Matthews, who served as the institute’s president since 2011, is being replaced by Sharon Rossie, who served as its president from 2006 to 2011.

The 3rd Congressional District includes Henderson and Summerlin in southern Nevada. Democrats hold a slight registration advantage there, but a sizeable portion of registered nonpartisans make it Nevada’s most competitive district.

No prominent Democrats have announced a bid for the seat.

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