Lee, who switched parties just last month, becomes the first major Republican to launch a campaign to try and defeat Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in the 2022 election.
Lee claimed in a campaign video that “today socialists control the Democratic Party I once knew. Sisolak strangled our economy and freedom. They’re after our speech, guns and kids. So, like Reagan and Trump, I switched parties.”
And spotlighting his own personal victory as a cancer survivor, Lee argued that “socialism is a cancer and if we don’t fight back, it will kill us. My the grace of God, I beat cancer. And together, as Republicans, we’ll beat this too.”
A moderate Democrat who opposed abortion rights, Lee served in the Nevada Assembly from 1997-2001 and in the state Senate from 2004 until 2012. He has served as mayor of North Las Vegas – Nevada’s third-largest city – since 2013.
Lee, who owns and runs a plumbing business, touted in his video that “I started a business out of the back of my family station wagon and created hundreds of jobs. I was a plumber. You can say I’ve never been afraid to fix a disgusting mess.”
Spotlighting his tenure as mayor of North Las Vegas, he emphasized that “I pulled it out of deep debt and revitalized the city.”
While Lee is the first major contender to launch a GOP campaign, it’s unlikely he’ll be the last.
Among those mulling gubernatorial bids are Rep. Mark Amodei, former Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchinson and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.