September 14, 2011
Mark Amodei, '83, won election to the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 13, 2011, with an easy victory in a special election to fill a vacant House seat in Nevada's Congressional District 2.
The former GOP state chairman and state senator took 58 percent of the vote against his Democratic opponent and two minor-party candidates in the conservative district that encompasses Washoe County and almost all of Nevada's rural counties.
Amodei was first elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1996 and two years later to the State Senate where he served until 2010 when term limits prevented him from seeking re-election. The Carson City attorney briefly campaigned for the Republican nomination for Democrat Harry Reid's U.S. Senate seat, but dropped out of that race before the primary election. The Senate majority leader warded off a Tea Party-backed candidate, Sharron Engle, in November as the Democrats held control of the Senate.
In May 2011, the junior U.S. Senator from Nevada, John Ensign, resigned from office under the cloud of an ethics violation case. That set in motion the events that brought Amodei to Congress. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval named U.S. Representative Dean Heller to the Senate seat, and called for a special election to fill the latter's position. Republicans rallied around Amodei, and he was the prohibitive favorite in a House seat that has been in Republican hands since its creation in 1983.