During the 1990s, Nevada was the country's fastest-growing state. Most of the newcomers settled in the sprawling Las Vegas suburbs, which boomed in size and value. This necessitated the creation of a new district in the area. The legislature was split between the parties, and so it compromised on a "fair fight" district. In the good GOP year of 2002, it elected a Republican, Jon Porter.
Porter hung on by narrowing margins throughout the decade as the district, like many suburban ones, trended leftward. Las Vegas was hit hard by the collapse of the housing market, with homes losing more than half their value. This was too much for Porter, and he lost in 2008 to Dina Titus.
Titus lost narrowly to Republican Joe Heck in 2010, although the margin was less than a point, belying the increasingly Democratic tilt of the state. Redistricting centered the district on the south Las Vegas suburbs and made the 3rd more favorable to the incumbent, albeit only marginally so.
Heck faced state Assembly Speaker John Oceguera in 2012, but managed to win by eight points. This year he drew Erin Bilbray, a Democratic National Committeewoman and daughter of former Nevada Rep. Brian Bilbray (and cousin to former California Rep. Brian Bilbray, a Republican). Heck is the favorite, unless the national mood changes between now and Election Day.