By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Nevada’s 1st U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, said this week on Nevada Newsmakers that she will support Steve Sisolak in the 2018 election for Nevada governor.
Sisolak, the chairman of the Clark County Commission, is expected to face fellow Clark Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Titus said both Giunchigliani and Sisolak are her friends but decided to support Sisolak after his display of sound leadership during the crisis of the mass shooting that killed 58 people near the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip is within the boundaries of Titus’ congressional district.
“(I’m supporting Sisolak) for a number of reasons but the most recent one was the leadership he showed during that great tragedy on Oct. 1,” she said. “It told me he is a person who can be governor and lead us in good times as well as bad.”
Interest among Democrats wanting to run for the 4th U.S. House District seat is high, Titus added.
“A half dozen people have called me and said they are interested in running,” Titus said. “My main concern is let’s pick somebody who can not only win but can hold the seat.”
The remark was a reference to current 4th U.S. House District Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-North Las Vegas. Kihuen, in his first term, faces a House Ethics investigation after being accused of making repeated unwanted sexual advances toward a handful of women.
Titus said she was “not particularly” surprised at Kihuen’s downfall but declined to elaborate.
She was enthusiastic about Democratic North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee replacing Kihuen but was not supportive of former 4th U.S. House District Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, regaining the seat.
Horsford was Nevada’s first CD-4 representative when the seat was created after the 2010 Census. After one term, Horsford lost it to the GOP’s Cresent Hardy, who then lost it to Kihuen.
“He’s been putting out feelers. He called me,” Titus said about Horsford. “So I think he is interested. I’m not sure if he can win or not. He lost in a year that was bad for Democrats, but it was a nine-point district (Democrats’ voter registration advantage).
“He should not have lost that district,” Titus said of Horsford. “And then he stayed back here in Washington and went to work as a lobbyist. You can kind of seeing the ads (political advertisements against Horsford) writing themselves.”
Mayor Lee shows the Democratic Party’s tent is big enough for conservatives, Titus said.
“I can certainly work with John Lee,” Titus said. “I work with him now with things at the federal level to help the local government. He fits the demographics of that district. The Democrats are a big party. You don’t all have to be liberal. You can all fit your own district and I think he has gotten a lot of respect as the mayor of North Las Vegas.”
Titus also mentioned state Sen. Pat Spearman and University Regent Allison Stephens as other Democrats interested in the 4th U.S. House District seat.
The recent loss by Republican Judge Roy Moore in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama is a good sign for Democrats heading into the 2018 election, Titus said.
“We’ve got a tailwind going and I think we can carry that into the fall election,” she said. “I think there is a real good chance that the Democrats will take the (U.S.) House.”
Earlier this week, Titus was critical of the congressional approval of the Republican tax overhaul, saying it benefits the wealthy at the expense of programs that focus on the poor and elderly.
“The GOP, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood, is pissing on our boots and calling it rain,” Titus said.
When asked about her comment, Titus said: “That’s a western expression that I think people can understand.”
She added about the tax plan: “They (Republicans) are calling it a Christmas present. I am calling it a lump of coal.”