Posts Tagged ‘Dina Titus’

Nevada 2012 Political Races Crystallize As Candidate Filing Period Ends

By Sean Whaley | 5:42 pm March 16th, 2012

(Updated to reflect that one of the Senate races in play is District 18, not District 19.)

CARSON CITY – After months of prognostications and political maneuvering, Nevada’s 2012 election season crystallized today as the state’s two-week filing period for public office came to a close.

Next up: A June 12 primary followed by the Nov. 6 general election, which will see a lengthy ballot topped by the presidential race, a competitive U.S. Senate race and four congressional contests.

Also at stake is control of the state Legislature, particularly the state Senate, where Democrats have a razor thin 11-10 majority.

Nevada is a battleground state in the presidential contest, a state President Obama won in 2008. Turnout for the presidential race is expected to have a major impact on “down ballot” races.

As evidence of Nevada’s importance, President Obama is making another trip to Southern Nevada on Wednesday to tour a Boulder City solar facility.

A number of minor party and independent candidates are vying for a number of elective offices as well.

The U.S. Senate race will see primaries for both parties, with incumbent Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., facing a handful of challengers. Heller was appointed to the Senate in May by Gov. Brian Sandoval to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of John Ensign.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is challenging Heller for the seat, also faces several Democrat challengers.

In the 1st Congressional District in urban Las Vegas, where former Democrat Rep. Dina Titus is viewed as the favorite to succeed Berkley, there are no other filed Democrats. Several Republicans have filed for the seat as well.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who won the seat in a special election in September 2011, is also the favorite to win a full term. He has no GOP opponents. Several Democrats have also filed for the seat.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., faces a challenge from Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas. Heck is seeking a second term. Other candidates representing both parties have also filed.

In the 4th Congressional District, created by Nevada’s population increase based on the 2010 census, Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, is the only Democrat, while a crowded field of Republicans, including state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, and Danny Tarkanian, have filed.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

Twelve state Senate seats are in play in the 2012 elections, and Democrats and Republicans expect a fierce battle to win control of the 21-member body.

There are several Senate races that could affect the balance of power, and the two major parties have already picked their candidates in most of the contests:

- Senate District 5, where former Henderson city councilman Steve Kirk, a Republican, faces Democrat and former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse. Republican Annette Teijeiro is also a candidate in the race.

- Senate District 6, where GOP attorney Mark Hutchison is facing businessman and Democrat Benny Yerushalmi. Thomas Welsh is also a Democrat in the race.

- Senate District 9, where Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin faces Democrat Justin Jones. Brent Jones is also a GOP candidate, and Frederick Conquest has filed as a Democrat.

- Senate District 15, where incumbent Greg Brower, R-Reno, faces former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, who resigned her Senate 13 seat to challenge the attorney who was appointed to fill out the term of the late Sen. Bill Raggio.

- Senate District 18, where Assemblyman Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, faces Democrats Kelli Ross and Donna Schlemmer. The Democrat Senate caucus has not yet endorsed in this race. Assemblyman Richard McArthur, R-Las Vegas, and Republican Conrad Vergara, have also filed.

Early today, a number of state senate candidates were unopposed. By 5 p.m., however, showing how competitive the two parties are, every race had at least two candidates.

The Assembly is less likely to see a switch away from Democrat control.

While Assembly Republicans see an opportunity to make gains on Democrats in the 2012 general election, they have an uphill battle with only 16 of 42 seats currently.

A few Assembly incumbents ended up running unopposed, including Republicans Ira Hansen in District 32, Pat Hickey in District 25, Tom Grady in District 38 and John Ellison in District 33, all of which are in northern Nevada.

In Clark County, Democrats Marilyn Kirkpatrick in District 1, Harvey Munford in District 6, Oliva Diaz in District 11, Richard Carillo in District 18, and Republican  John Hambrick in District 2, also face no opponents.

More than 230 candidates filed for various offices in Clark County.

Dozens more filed with the Secretary of State, Washoe County and with election officials in the other counties around the state.

One potential candidate who opted not to run is Republican Sharron Angle, a former member of the state Assembly who ran against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2010.

Instead Angle announced on her website that she is going to produce a documentary on voter fraud, a statement that prompted a response from Secretary of State Ross Miller, who oversaw the 2010 Nevada general election where Reid handily beat Angle.

“Our multi-jurisdictional Election Integrity Task Force has always aggressively investigated any leads and successfully prosecuted election law violations,” Miller said in response to media requests for comment. “However, we can’t send out our investigators until we have basic information about what crime may have been committed, when it happened and who may have been involved. The unsupported fraud claims on Ms. Angle’s campaign website don’t give us enough information to even open up a case file.

Kihuen is Out

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:08 pm February 7th, 2012

State Sen. Ruben Kihuen this afternoon announced he was dropping out of the primary race for the urban and heavily Democratic NV-01, which means smooth sailing for his opponent and former Rep. Dina Titus.

Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, acknowledged he has not been able to raise the money to compete.

“Unfortunately, the reality is that continuing my efforts to win in what would promise to be a resource draining primary at this time is not in the best interest for me, my family, my community and my party,” Kihuen said in a statement.

In response to Kihuen’s withdrawal, Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange released a statement including the following:

“Senator Ruben Kihuen is an outstanding public servant with a very bright future in Nevada politics. He will continue to be a strong fighter in the Nevada State Senate to create jobs and improve Nevada’s education system. I congratulate Senator Kihuen on the race he ran and look forward to working with him in the future.

“Nevada Democrats are united behind Dina Titus and we look forward to sending her back to Congress to fight for Nevada families.”

Kihuen will serve out his term as state Senator.

Pre-Game Analysis: Titus to Announce in Congressional District “X”

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:57 am November 1st, 2011

…where X is (probably) equal to one.

As first Tweeted by @RalstonFlash yesterday, former Rep. Dina Titus plans to announce (this Thursday) in which congressional district she plans to run. The declaration will come even though Nevada’s new congressional maps are not yet validated by either the courts or the legislature.

Former Rep. Dina Titus

Titus will most likely choose to run in CD-1, where she lives, which will likely result in a very interesting Democratic primary race between her and state Senator Ruben Kihuen. (Titus has said she’d run in the district with the most Democrats; Kihuen has said he’d run in the district with the most Hispanics.)

For my out of state readers, this has historically been the safest Democratic seat in Nevada. It was long held by Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is now running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Dean Heller. Under the new maps, Democrats have a 27 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans in the district.

Here’s a quick look at the Titus-Kihuen match-up:


Titus taught government classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for 34 years, until her retirement in June. She represented Senate District 7 in the Nevada Legislature for 20 years, serving as the Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 to 2008. Titus was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from CD-3 in November 2008, where she served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and Labor Committee, and the Homeland Security Committee.  She also served as Whip for the Western states. Titus lost the seat (by less than 2,000 votes) to Rep. Joe Heck in 2010.

(Interesting historical note: Democrats targeted CD-3 Republican incumbent Jon Porter in 2008. Their top candidate was Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas, but he dropped out of the race for family reasons. Democrats then quickly recruited Titus, who had won the district in her unsuccessful 2006 run for governor. Titus was a beneficiary of the “Obama wave” and defeated Porter in November, 47% to 42%, becoming the first Democrat to ever represent the district.)

Kihuen was elected to serve the 10th Senatorial District (central and east Las Vegas) of Nevada in November of 2010. Prior to that, he served two terms as a State Assembly member for District 11. Kihuen also served as “diversity programs manager” for the College of Southern Nevada, a job that was eliminated when he left CSN in order to run for Congress. He is a past member of the Clark County Community Development Advisory Committee and the North Las Vegas Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Update: Kihuen has in the past worked as a college recruiter and academic advisor for CSN. He also worked as a field organizer for political campaigns in Nevada, Virginia, Florida and Texas, and served as regional representative to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Update 2/correction: The communications director for CSN emailed to clarify that Ruben Kihuen’s job was not eliminated from CSN. Constance Brooks has taken over the diversity office that Ruben led; her job title is “director of government affairs and diversity initiatives.”

Nevada Records/Notables

In the 2007 legislative session, Titus authored a bill that requires health insurance companies to cover the costs of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, which is purported to protect women from cervical cancer. The bill passed both the Nevada Senate and the Nevada Assembly and was signed by Gov. Jim Gibbons. She also spear-headed a measure banning so-called universal default clauses that enable credit card issuers to boost interest rates by 30 percent or more. The bill passed the Nevada Senate and Assembly, but was vetoed by Gibbons. (Congress later pressured major credit card companies to roll back the clause voluntarily.)

Kihuen authored few bills during his time in Carson City, but you can view his legislative voting record here. An August Las Vegas Sun story described his most notable accomplishments as (1) authoring a 2009 bill outlawing the taking of too many copies of free publications (it passed the Assembly and Senate but was vetoed by Gibbons and (2) pushing a measure that granted a portion of unused gift cards to the state for education, instead of returning it to the business. Kihuen contended that it was more important for him to focus on leading the newly created Select Committee on Economic Growth and Employment, and that he participated in and influenced numerous important discussions on bills.


As of the end of Q3, Kihuen had raised $92,000, spent $6,800 spent, and loaned himself $10,000 loan. His cash on hand: $95,000.

Titus raised $201,000, spent $8,000, and had/has $193,000 cash on hand.

Titus’ fundraising ability is presumed superior, but Kihuen should not be underestimated.

Update: A political wag rightly points out that Kihuen is likely to get plenty of Nevada lobbying money because even if he loses in the primary, he will return to Carson City as a state senator in 2013. Win/win for special interests that support him.


Kihuen is seeking to become Nevada’s first Hispanic congressman and is betting on strong minority support, evidenced by the presence of a diverse crowd of supporters along with a mariachi band, Chinese dancing dragons and African-American break dancers at his congressional campaign kick-off a few weeks back.

If the lines remain as drawn the court-appointed special masters, the district is 43% Hispanic.

Titus will bank on her existing base of voter support, campaign money from both in and out of state, and what is sure to be a strong campaign team willing to go the (brutal) extra mile if pre-primary election polls are tight.


Wednesday Political Round-Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 7:21 pm October 26th, 2011

Some snippets and blurbs from the week so far for your enjoyment, Dear Readers:

Presidential Race

Magellan Strategies this week released an autodial poll of 673 likely Nevada GOP caucus goers. Results:

Mitt Romney – 38%

Herman Cain – 26%

Newt Gingrich – 16%

Ron Paul – 7%

Rick Perry – 5%

Michele Bachman – 2%

Rick Santorum & Jon Huntsman – 1%

Other – 1%

Also interesting, the Favorable/Unfavorable ratios from the poll:

Cain	  69%	 19%
Romney	  67%	 23%
Gingrich  63%	 26%
Bachmann  41%	 45%
Santorum  28%	 43%
Paul	  32%	 51%
Perry	  25%	 58%
Huntsman  13%	 57%
NV GOP Caucuses

The Union Leader in New Hampshire couldn’t resist one more jab at Nevada (via OpEd), but they got one thing wrong. According to NV Republican Party chair Amy Tarkanian, when the executive board voted to set the caucus date for Feb. 14, they were not aware of NH’s statute requiring that no other contests be held for seven days after their first-in-the-nation primary. Tarkanian quipped in a phone conversation this week, “That would have been nice to know.”

And just in case you were in a coma over the weekend, the NV GOP caucus date was moved to Feb. 4.

Senate Seats

Public Policy Polling says Rep. Shelley Berkley has moved into a tie with Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race at 45%. In PPP’s last poll, in late July, Heller led 46-43.

Three dozen political action committees must believe it’s going to be close, because they have hedged their bets and given money to both Berkley and Heller in 2011, reports Ralston.

Politico writes a story on Sen. Harry Reid’s loyalty to the President.

YouTube Campaigns

Expect anti-Obama/Berkley/Reid videos like this one from the National Republican Senatorial Committee from (and the rest of Team GOP) for the next 12 months. (Black helicopters = nice touch.)

And expect lots of anti-Heller videos like this one from the Nevada Democratic Party and Team D.

And ads like this one from American Crossroads (aka Karl Rove, Inc.), who is apparently making a play for the Hispanic vote in Nevada (and I am sure elsewhere).

Congressional Races

Dina Titus talks to the Sun about her possible primary race against…someone.

Titus may well end up facing off with Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, in the 1st Congressional District, where she lives. It is is a heavily Democratic district with 43 percent Latino population, which would seem to favor Kihuen, but Titus is well-known and will be (as she confidently asserts) a formidable candidate.

State Sens. John Lee and Steven Horsford, both D-North Las Vegas, live in the brand spanking new 4th Congressional District. Horsford, the Democratic majority leader for the past four years, has the clear advantage in the match-up with Lee, who is a conservative Democrat.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, will be campaigning against Rep. Joe Heck, R-Las Vegas, in the 3rd Congressional District. Titus lost to Heck by less than 2,000 votes in 2010, but after the redistricting maps are finalized the lines and demographics will be different.

As for the 2nd District, newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei has yet to hear about a challenge, although Sharron Angle’s name keeps (inevitably) popping up as a possible primary opponent.

Ray Hagar has the run-down on Amodei’s staff hires.


Gov. Sandoval and staff sing “Home Means Nevada” in honor of Nevada Day.

Just what we need: a political reality show.

Halloween decorations are up in the Secretary of State’s Scare’s office. Ross Miller reports that this one is scaring the kids.

Also, the Governor’s mansion looks ready to go.


In Case You Missed It: The Week in Nevada Politics

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:24 pm September 9th, 2011

These “ICYMI” posts are getting quite a few hits so I guess you like them, Dear Readers. Here’s this week’s round-up (plus a few from before the holiday weekend):

Presidential Race

My three cents on the President’s speech Thursday night.

Magellan’s 9/2 survey had Gov. Rick Perry up over Gov. Mitt Romney by 5 points (29-24 percent) in Nevada. Herman Cain, Rep. Bachman and Rep. Paul all came in at 6 or 7 percent.

Romney rolled out his economic and jobs plans in North Las Vegas this week. Can a visit from Perry be far behind?

Special Election in CD-2 (September 13)

State Senator Mark Amodei’s says he’d be “honored” to have your vote in his final television ad of the campaign.

State Treasurer Kate Marshall has been walking a tightrope as she runs as a Democrat in a conservative district, but Steny Hoyer’s visit cleared things up a bit.

The two underdog candidates fight on.

Reuters reports.

U.S. Senate Race

Rep. Berkley did not heart this story in the New York Times. The Las Vegas Sun sees nothing wrong. Steve Sebelius says she should have abstained. Jon Ralston says either way, it spells trouble for her campaign.

Dean Heller AGAIN demanded transparency from the so-called debt-cutting SuperCommittee via his fourth press release on the issue.

Congressional Delegation (and Hopefuls) in the News

Rep. Joe Heck gets heckled at a panel on job creation.

Does Sen. Harry Reid always get what he wants? Maybe not, but he can still do stuff like this.

The Washington Post fact checks a Reid job claim related to the FAA bill.

Dina Titus is not letting the lack of district lines stop her from putting together a great money team for her congressional run…somewhere.

Cities and Counties

A Clark County union negotiating expert says the SEUI is bargaining in bad faith. The county wants the Local Government Employee Management Relations Board to compel the union to meet more often and bargain in good faith. The SIEU responded calling the claim “disingenuous” and the complaint “frivolous.”

The Clean Water Coalition is shutting down but at least someone in the state has some money.

As first reported by me on Twitter, some folks in North Las Vegas are going to try to recall Mayor Shari Buck. But only 50 signatures were collected Tuesday at their kick-off rally.


Is the Nevada GOP finally getting its organizational act together such that it can inflict pain on the Democrats in 2012? The dean of Nevada politics says maybe.

The Nevada Supreme Court opened its fall term with a hearing on a freedom of speech argument by a political advocacy group.

A complaint against Bank of America was filed recently by Attorney General Catherine  Cortez Masto. She and many state AGs also signed a strongly worded letter of concern/complaint (and asks questions “in lieu of a subpoena”) against an alleged sex trafficking website.

Ralston blasts the state teachers’ union for its “report card” on lawmakers.

DOT is contemplating an Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Act (RRIF) loan of $6 billion to the DesertXpress project.


Titus Retires from UNLV, Ready to Run for…Something

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:27 pm June 24th, 2011

In case you missed it yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun reported that former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus has accepted a sweet buyout from UNLV, a move signaling she is ready for a return to politics.

Former Rep. Dina Titus

Titus will get a $162,000 lump sum for giving up her political science professor’s job. She will will still teach part-time and is scheduled to teach a nuclear politics course at UNLV this fall (for which she’ll be paid $3,000).

Titus told the Las Vegas Sun she’ll be working on a book she’s writing, exploring the horizon as a political consultant and…planning her next campaign:

“I’m certainly looking into it,” Titus said when asked about a future bid. “We’re watching the numbers and redistricting. I’ll probably make a decision in the fall.”

And in case there was any doubt, Titus told CityLife she will run for…something.




Year Of Dramatic Campaign Spending Increases Marks Anniversary Of Citizens United Decision

By Andrew Doughman | 12:54 pm January 21st, 2011

One year later, the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case are plain to see.

On Jan. 21, 2010, the court ruled that corporate and union donations to political candidates cannot be limited under the First Amendment.

The impact?

During this past Senatorial election, Democratic-incumbent Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle together spent about $44 million on their campaigns. Including outside spending, that number is probably above $50 million.

That’s compared to about $8 million spent during the 2004 and 2006 Senate races, when campaign financing laws were still on the books.

At the Congressional level, Democrat Dina Titus and Republican Joe Heck battled it out this year, spending a combined $4 million in a contest Heck ultimately won. That’s actually less than the $4.65 million spent in the 2008 race between Titus and Republican-challenger Jon Porter. But outside spending in the 2010 race accounted for an extra $4.5 million in 2010 compared to $1.8 million in 2008.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of those financing laws in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In striking parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act – better known as the McCain-Feingold Act – the court allowed corporate donors to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates or to spend independently on behalf of candidates.

The spending numbers above only track the spending declared by candidates, excluding money spent on their behalf. In the Reid-Angle race, many of the donors to Angle’s campaign were individuals, whereas Reid raked in donations for corporations.

Following the ruling, President Barack Obama said the ruling “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington … while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to their preferred candidates.”

His 2008 Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, also criticized the decision. Along with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, McCain had been a sponsor of the campaign reform law, the provisions of which the court struck down.

Former state Senator Bill Raggio, in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers program on Jan. 13, also questioned the high level of spending on campaigns in general and in the Reid-Angle race in particular: “I think the money that is spent on campaigns, particularly this last campaign season, was obscene. In just this state alone, $50 million between these two candidates for the U.S. Senate.

“I certainly want to support free speech and the ability of people to back candidates and to fund candidates, but I think there should be some reasonable limit. It may be something that has to be self imposed by individuals or candidates or groups, but I think it was obscene.”

Other groups, however, praised the ruling. The National Rifle Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had both supported Citizens United during the trial. The Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, also issued a statement in support.

To make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint,” the statement read.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the decision, Citizens United released a celebratory statement today. Their lead counsel in the case, Theodore B. Olson, said that the decision is the “most important in history.”

“What that decision said is that individuals, under the First Amendment, cannot be inhibited, cannot be restrained, cannot be threatened, cannot be censored by the government when they wish to speak about elections and the political process,” he said. “What could be more important than that?”

One year later, the rancor aroused by the decision appears not to have quieted.

Republicans are pushing for removing more campaign financing restrictions while Democrats are lining up to propose a constitutional amendment to limit corporate spending.

Big Race Blurbs

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:16 pm October 27th, 2010

A few recent items of interest in the three big races from the Nevada page of Battle ’10, where I know many (but not all) of you have been following me since August, Dear Readers:


  • The expected GOP surge started Monday and continued yesterday. Will it continue?
  • The attorney for the Sharron Angle campaign says she is gathering details in preparation for a complaint to the Secretary of State’s office regarding alleged shennanigans related to voting and polling locations. Will it have teeth?
  • Secretary of State Ross Miller had a press conference today to address all the recent concerns and allegations, including those listed in a 44-page document from the Nevada Republican party. Will this quiet the calls for investigations?
  • Even if this is true, voters can change their choices on voting machines before they advance to the next screen. They can also review and change their votes before they cast their final ballots. (Make sure you review your votes!)
  • Sharron Angle sent flowers and a thank you note to Joy Behar after remarks made ABC’s “The View.”
  • John McCain will join Sharron Angle at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Orleans in Las Vegas this Friday night. Michael Reagan and actor Jon Voight will also be there.
  • The AFL-CIO has been lending a hand to Harry Reid.
  • Who is sending anonymous mailers supporting Scott Ashjian?
  • If you missed Newt Gingrich’s recent visit, we’ve got some good (short) video clips.


  • The Joe Heck campaign said the most recent television ad from Team Titus means she is getting desperate.
  • A source inside the Heck campaign today suggested that Dr. Heck would be glad to discuss the matters raised in the ad if his accusers were willing to sign away their HIPPA (medical privacy) rights. As it stands, he is unable to defend himself because he is prohibited from doing so by law.
  • A little bird told me Sheriff Gillispie was none too happy about the ad, either.


  • Rory and Sandoval debated last night. Both candidates did well and there were some good zingers. Sandoval finally gave voters something on his intentions for the budget — namely, roll back to 2007 spending — but one cannot call it a “plan.” Rory is the man with the plan. One that will soon be collecting dust, the way the polls are looking.

For those who have asked (complained, chided), yes, I’ll be getting back into the swing of things here at the blog — recently rebranded as E!!Politics, as you can see up top — so please check back soon.

And please make sure you are catching my political segments on Channel 13 Action News every Tuesday and Friday at 6:20-ish. We’ll be doing an elections special this Friday at 8 p.m. as well.

Team Heck: “Titus Dodges Debates”

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:50 pm June 18th, 2010

From the Inbox via the Joe Heck for Congress campaign this afternoon:

Titus Dodges Debates

Today, Dr. Joe Heck’s campaign for Congress issued the following statement following a phone call with Congresswoman Dina Titus’ campaign. Grant Hewitt, Dr. Heck’s campaign manager called Congresswoman Titus’ office in order to set up the debates as challenged and ultimately accepted according to the Las Vegas Review Journal on Wednesday, June 16th.

“While Dina Titus’s campaign continues their evasive rhetoric, the voters of southern Nevada wait for a real answer to Dr. Heck’s complete debate challenge. Our campaign is looking forward to introducing the Congresswoman to her electorate and the issues that matter most for the hard working families of southern Nevada,” said Hewitt. “While we understand that she is busy voting at the behest of Nancy Pelosi, we also must note that the voters we have spoken with would prefer that she come home and discuss the issues rather than blindly cast a ballot in favor of another expensive, job-killing policy,” concluded Hewitt.

During the phone call Titus’ campaign manager refused to establish a timetable to accept the full debate challenge, nor would they schedule a meeting with the Heck campaign to confirm a debate schedule. Throughout the call it was clear that the Titus campaign has no interest in addressing the challenge other than to keep with the rhetoric that the incumbent will eventually debate; addressing the complete challenge and debating the serious issues facing southern Nevada appears to not be a top priority.

Dr. Joe Heck sent Congresswoman Titus a letter requesting “five formal, public debates on specific policy topics agreed upon by both parties.” A spokesperson for Congresswoman Titus stated she has received “several requests” and are in the process of “determining what will be possible to accomplish.” Dr Joe Heck secured the Republican nomination for Nevada’s 3rdCongressional District and will challenge incumbent Dina Titus who has voted with Speaker Nancy Pelosi 97.2 percent of the time.


Yep, that’s gonna be one of Team Heck’s main mantras:  Titus is just a mini-Pelosi.

Titus will, of course, have to agree to debate Heck.  Which Team Heck very well knows, but taunting her publicly until she does is a lot of fun for the campaign staffers.

I’m guessing Titus will agree to do it two, maybe three times between now and the election.  And that we’ll see the first one sometime in July/early August.

The latest Mason-Dixon poll had Heck beating Titus 49-44, but the margin of error was 6% so we still have to call it pretty much “even.”  The M-D match-up in December showed the two in a dead heat at 40-40.

Most national pollsters have this race in the “Toss Up” column, and you can bet the neighborhood bank there is going to be a Lot of cash spent in CD-3 by both parties and their friends.  The Republicans are (of course) going to target all the most vulnerable House seats all summer long, and this is one of them, for a variety of reasons:

Titus is a Democratic incumbent (and a freshman Rep to boot) in a district that is badly suffering with high unemployment and foreclosure rates.

Also, she voted for health care reform, which was wildly popular in her party but maybe not so much in her Congressional district.

Joe Heck, who also happens to be a doctor, talked fairly articulately about health care the other night on Face to Face.  And when given the opportunity to distance himself from fellow Republican nominee Sharron Angle on the (related) issue of phasing out Medicare altogether, he did so, indirectly, by saying the idea (but not Angle) is “ludicrous,” as follows:

Ralston: “Are you for privatizing/phasing out Social Security and Medicare?”

Heck: “I am committed to making sure our seniors have the benefits they are entitled to and that they’ve earned, whether it’s Social Security or Medicare. And it’s ludicrous on its face to think that me, as a physician, would want to see Medicare dissolved….”

Ralston: “So you’re saying Sharron Angle is ludicrous?”

Heck: “That is not what I am saying. I am saying for me to think to privatize or to dissolve Medicare just doesn’t make sense as a physician. It’s critically important for seniors to have that coverage, to receive the health care that they receive once they reach the age of 65.”

Face to Face: Dina Titus Answers Questions About Her Vote for House Health Care Bill

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:45 pm March 19th, 2010

Ralston tonight interviewed Dina Titus on her Yes health care vote, as follows:

Q:  A few days ago you were undecided. What got you off the fence, specifically?

A:  Two things: I was waiting for the CBO figures, and they show that this is going to save even more money than anticipated and bring down the deficit. And second, a lot of the things I was concerned about in the Senate bill are fixed by the new compromise.  They’ve done away with the special deals for certain states. They’ve adjusted the tax on benefits so it doesn’t kick in to 2018, and the cap is much higher.  They’ve spread the reforms to more people, so now they cover everybody who has an insurance policy for things like protections against caps, protections against taking away the policy, protections for pre-existing conditions.

Q:  There have been a lot of people who said you were just faking it, that you really were going to vote for it the whole time, that this was all an act.  Did you get any last minute arm-twisting?

A:  No, absolutely not. People honored my wishes, which was to do my homework and get the information. I did not hear from the President. I did not go see the Speaker. I got a lot of phone calls and those are the people I listened to, not the million dollars’ worth of insurance company ads.

Q:  That is interesting, because I think you are going to have a tough time explaining to your constituents how a bill spends $940 billion – and that’s the low end – amd maybe over a trillion to get health care done, yet reduces the deficit and is not going to hurt Medicare. Do you think you can explain that?

A:  I do. I think we don’t need to go into all the details, because people don’t want to hear that, and we need take a lesson, to keep it simple. Now, it’s unfortunate that the bill was 2,000 pages long. It should have been 10 pages like the Constitution.  When they see the things that go into effect right away, like children staying on their parent’s policies until age 26, small businesses getting those tax cuts right now so they can provide health insurance for their employee, no pre-existing conditions – those are the kinds of things that I think people will feel and will understand and that will make a difference.

Q:  It may indeed help small business – I have heard that argument – but there are also provisions in there for larger businesses over 50 employees who get this subsidy from the government, and they can face penalties. That can be disincentive to hiring, no?

A:  I don’t think so. Most of the businesses I talk to want to provide insurance for their employees. It’s a great recruiting too. They want to be able to do it; they just can’t afford it. That’s one of the reasons we need this bill, because families can’t sustain it, businesses can’t compete with in the global economy if they don’t have it, and government needs to bring down those costs over time, too, because Medicare, Medicaid, those are very expensive.

Q:  You know that was a lot of pages for you to read in between the time you got the bill and you made your decision.  You sure this wasn’t just a ruse? You didn’t read all 2,000 pages again did you?

A:  I’ll say it one more time, Jon. I wanted to get the bill in front of me. I wanted to do my homework, and its’ not as difficult as you might imagine because a lot of the bill stays the same, it’s the changes that are really important to focus on and study.

Q:  You know I might not be the best person to ask this question since I once declared your career over, but the epitaphs for Dina Titus have been pouring in since this, where your friends over at the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee have said, she’s walked the plank, her career’s over. The publisher of a large newspaper here said the voters are going to vote you out of office in November.  Is this really an important enough thing to lose your seat over?

A:  You know what, I think the election is a long time away, and there are other issues bedsides health care that we’ve been working on, like foreclosures, and we gotta create some jobs, and we gotta create renewable energy — but this isn’t about politics, this is about policy, and I believe there are things more important than re-election, and that’s why I listened to folks in the District, not to these special interests who are running these ads and doing these polls.  This is the health care of the American people.

Q:  What about the obligation that leaders of a political party have to educate the public? Are you going to take that up yourself, are the Democrats going to be able to do that, to say why this bill is a good thing and change those poll numbers by November? You have to do that, right?

A: Well, I’m doing it right now, Jon.  And I’ve been doing it for a year. I’ve always said we need reform. And if you think about it, I’ve done about a dozen Congress on the Corners. I’ve done about a half a dozen telephone town halls. We’ve done public hearings. We’ve answered over 90,000 letters, telephone calls, emails.  We are getting that information out. And we are telling people the truth and giving them the facts, not using scare tactics like using death panels and those kinds of emotional things and misguided information like is coming from the other side and the insurance companies.

Heck Mulls Jump Into CD 3 Race

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 4:53 pm September 28th, 2009

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Joe Heck says he is “seriously considering” leaving the governor’s race and entering the race for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nevada).

Heck attended a meeting in Las Vegas today called by former Republican CD 3 candidate John Guedry – who withdrew from the race for family reasons last Friday – and a number of Republican Party leaders who told Heck that his experience and expertise on health care and military issues would make him a formidable candidate for Congress against Titus, a former university professor.

The former state senator told those at the meeting that he has become increasingly concerned with the direction the Obama administration has taken over the last six months, especially on health care issues and the war in Afghanistan, and promised to seriously consider the suggestion that he switch gears and take up the congressional race.

Heck said he would discuss the matter with his family and announce a decision soon, perhaps as early as the end of this week.