This Dem Congressman Had a Years-Long Affair With an Intern. Now, His Ex-Wife Says He's Threatening Her To Keep Quiet.

'He had hundreds of chances to do the right thing but he chose violence,' Sonya Douglass says of Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford

Democratic Nevada congressman Steven Horsford / Getty Images
October 31, 2022

Roughly two years after Democrat Steven Horsford admitted to a years-long affair with an intern, the Nevada congressman is threatening to take legal action against his ex-wife if she discusses the ordeal publicly, she said Sunday.

"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," Sonya Douglass said of Horsford in a Sunday morning tweet. "It includes $10,000 fines for each remark or social post. Even to a therapist!"

Douglass's accusation comes as Horsford navigates a difficult reelection bid against Republican Sam Peters. Douglass said Horsford is "already blaming" a prospective loss on her and "refuses to take responsibility for his own actions."

"He had hundreds of chances to do the right thing but he chose violence," she added. "But I don't respond well to bullying or intimidation so here we are."

Horsford in May 2020 acknowledged that he had a years-long extramarital affair with Gabriela Linder. The pair met in 2009, when Linder was a 21-year-old intern for then-U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.). Horsford was 36 at the time. According to Linder, the affair initially lasted a year and a half before it resumed from 2017 to 2019, when Horsford joined Congress.

The 2020 revelation rocked Horsford's campaign, particularly given that the Democrat's political website described Horsford as a "devoted family man." At the time, Linder said Horsford should "step out of public office for some time" to "do some atoning." But Horsford refused to drop out of the race and went on to secure a second term in Congress, defeating Republican Jim Marchant by 5 points. Horsford is now running for a third term, a decision that Douglass criticized in March.

"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, a Columbia University professor, tweeted. "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, who did not return a request for comment, also faced ethics issues as a result of the affair. Horsford in 2020 acknowledged sending Linder money through his company, R&R Resources+, prompting a complaint from government watchdog Americans for Public Trust. "Ultimately, his conduct for the past 10 years destroys the credibility of his office and fails to maintain the integrity of the House," the complaint stated.

Horsford and Peters will face off at the polls in just eight days. Horsford has raised $4.6 million to Peters's $1.8 million.