After his election defeat in 2014, Horsford declined to run again in 2016. Instead, he became an executive with business and marketing consulting firm R&R Partners.
Horsford was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He attended Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno, where he studied political science and communications but has not yet completed his degree requirements to graduate.CTA
Horsford was the Chief Executive Officer of the Culinary Training Academy (CTA). As a joint management and labor partnership between 26 major properties on the Las Vegas Strip and the Culinary and Bartenders Unions, CALV prepares more than 3,500 students annually for positions in the hospitality industry.Southern Nevada Investment Board
Horsford worked on the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Board (which later became Workforce Connections) from early 2000 until June 2004. The group organization is a “group of elected and highly motivated individuals whose mission is to get Southern Nevada’s workforce back on its feet through partnering with a wide array of employers and agencies dedicated to investing in the future of our communities.” The organization “distributes funds earmarked for training, apprenticeships and other viable approaches designed to couple the right workers with the right employers.”
He gave up his position on the Board to avoid any appearance of impropriety associated with funds granted to Nevada Partners, a nonprofit he directed.
In 2004, incumbent Democratic State Senator Joe Neal, of Clark County's 4th Senate District, decided to retire in order to run for a seat on the Clark County Commission. Horsford ran and defeated Republican Mabel Florence Lucier 72%–28%. He was only the fourth African American to serve as a State Senator since the Nevada Legislature first convened in 1864. In 2008, he won re-election to a second term with 74% of the vote.
He has served in six special sessions and four regular sessions of the Nevada Legislature. In November 2008, Horsford was elected Nevada Senate Majority Leader.
In August 2011, Horsford appointed Senator Mo Denis to lead the caucus election efforts during for the 2012 election cycle, garnering criticism from some in his party due to Denis's sub-par fundraising. As of August 2012, the Senate Democratic Caucus had out-raised its Republican counterpart $228,128 to $205,250.
In November 2009, Horsford was criticized for illegally parked his SUV with his Senate license plate visible in a handicapped parking space at a park for six hours. Subsequently, Horsford pledged to work harder on disabled rights issues.
In the summer of 2010, Horsford again garnered unwanted media attention when a fundraising letter from his PAC soliciting donations in exchange for private meals or receptions to meet with various Democratic legislative leaders and Senate committee chairs. Following criticism that the letter amounted to "pay to play". He rescinded the letter, discontinued the solicitation program and refunded all donations made in response to the letter.
On April 7, 2011 it was reported that web poker giant PokerStars treated Horsford on a lobbyist-paid trip to the Bahamas prior to introducing legislation that would benefit the online gaming industry. Horsford said of the trip, "It was productive. They made a good presentation." Horsford received $37,500 in campaign contributions from PokerStars. Forty-eight Nevada legislators accepted PokerStars campaign contributions. Horsford (and others) later returned the campaign contributions. He personally reimbursed the full cost of the trip.
In the most recent session, he served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee and also served on the Senate Committee on Revenue and the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.
In October 2011, he announced he would run for Congress, but didn't know at the time which district he would run in because the Nevada state legislature hadn't finished the redistricting maps. He decided to run in the newly created 4th District, which includes the northern portion of Clark County, as well as all or part of the rural counties of Lincoln, White Pine, Nye, Esmeralda, Mineral, and Douglas. However, the bulk of the district's population is in Clark County, and President Barack Obama would have carried it with 56 percent of the vote had it existed in 2008.
Horsford was due to face former state representative John Lee in the Democratic primary. However, Lee dropped out in November, effectively handing the nomination to Horsford. He defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian in November by 50%–42%. Although Tarkanian won the rural counties in the district by margins of better than 2-to-1, Horsford carried Clark County, home to four-fifths of the district's vote, by 28,800 votes.
Horsford was defeated by Republican challenger Cresent Hardy on November 4, 2014.
Horsford's two-year term began on January 3, 2013. He was a member of the House Progressive Caucus, and is the only member who supported the September 30, 2013, continuing resolution that contained a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.Committee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs
Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements
Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Protection
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Committee on Financial Services
Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Horsford was intimately involved in securing Nevada’s role in hosting the second in the nation Presidential Caucus in 2008. He was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy. During the early caucus season, he chaired a steering committee of community leaders that headed the campaign in the state. During the general election, Horsford co-chaired the campaign, helping lead President Obama to victory in Nevada.
Horsford was the national vice chairman of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and served as the Democratic National Committeeman for the State of Nevada. He is a member of the Democratic National Committee's Change Commission, and a member of the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee.
He is married to Dr. Sonya Horsford, a professor of educational leadership at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. They have three children, Benjamin, Bryson and Ella.
He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.