Congressional Black Caucus Elects Dem Who Had Years-Long Affair With Intern as Chair

Self-described 'devoted family man' Steven Horsford threatened wife with legal action if she spoke up about his affair with 21-year-old

Democratic Nevada congressman Steven Horsford / Getty Images
December 2, 2022

The Congressional Black Caucus elected a new chair this week: Nevada Democrat Steven Horsford, who ran for Congress as a "devoted family man" after cheating on his wife with a 21-year-old intern.

The caucus—which bills itself as the "conscience of the Congress"—announced the move on Wednesday, with outgoing chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D., Ohio) saying she is "confident our power and our message are in capable hands." Horsford's ascent to the top of the caucus comes roughly two years after the Democrat admitted to a years-long extramarital affair with Gabriela Linder. The pair met in 2009, when Linder was a 21-year-old Hill intern and Horsford was a 36-year-old state lawmaker. The affair, Linder said in May 2020, initially lasted a year and a half before it resumed from 2017 to 2019, which overlaps with Horsford's time in Congress.

After she revealed the affair, Linder advised Horsford—who was running for Congress as a "devoted family man"—to "step out of public office for some time" and "do some atoning." But Horsford stayed in the race, secured reelection in November 2020, and filed to run for a third consecutive term roughly a year and a half later—a decision his estranged wife Sonya Douglass blasted in a March Twitter thread.

"I have remained silent for nearly two years and want it to be clear that I am not enjoying the pain that my children and I continue to suffer since [Horsford] told me the day after Mother’s Day about his 10-year affair AFTER already speaking to his staff and attorneys," Douglass wrote. "And that he would choose to file for reelection and force us to endure yet another season of living through the sordid details of the #horsfordaffair with #mistressforcongress rather than granting us the time and space to heal as a family."

Horsford went on to threaten legal action against Douglass if she continued to discuss the ordeal publicly, Douglass revealed in October. "I was just minding my business until Steven and his attorney demanded I sign an NDA that would ban me from speaking about my 22-year marriage, his 10-year affair, and our divorce FOREVER," she said. "He had hundreds of chances to do the right thing but he chose violence."

Horsford is not the only controversial Democrat to secure a coveted leadership position this week. House Democrats on Wednesday elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.), who called the 2016 election "ILLEGITIMATE" and two years later claimed congressional seats were "stolen by rogue Republican operatives," as their leader.