LAS VEGAS — House Speaker Paul Ryan gave a campaign boost to former U.S. Rep. Cresent Hardy on Wednesday, attending a criminal justice round table and fundraiser for his fellow Republican who is seeking to regain his House seat.
Ryan met with Hardy and graduates of a local criminal justice program that helps ex-offenders re-adjust to society.
Ryan's political office confirmed that he attended a fundraiser for Hardy in Las Vegas afterward but would not provide details.
Hardy, who served one term in a southern Nevada district before losing in 2016, is in a close race against former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, who also once held the seat for one term.
Most of Ryan and Hardy's criminal justice event Wednesday was closed to the public. Members of the media were allowed to listen to the first five minutes, where Hardy and Ryan made introductions.
In brief remarks, Ryan said he would like to see programs like Nevada's Hope for Prisoners organization replicated elsewhere. He said members of Congress are working on criminal justice reform but more needs to be done to help ex-offenders transition back to society.
Ryan said the former congressman helped work on criminal justice issues when he was in the House.
Hardy's campaign manager, Ross Hemminger,said the event was designed to give Ryan a chance to hear the stories of former inmates involved in the Hope for Prisoners program. He said most of the session was closed to the media because the former inmates felt more comfortable sharing their stories in private.
Hardy and Horsford are running in the 4th Congressional District, a swing district that extends north of Las Vegas through four rural counties.
Horsford held the seat for one term until losing to Hardy in 2014. Hardy then lost two years later to Democrat Ruben Kihuen. Kihuen is not running for re-election after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.