Nevada is a politically divided state, and Rep. Dina Titus (D) is having a hard time hitting all of the right notes. That’s going to prove especially difficult come November, when she’s up for re-election against a tough Republican opponent.
Titus received just 47 percent of the vote when she was elected as a freshman in 2008, eking out a 5 point victory over GOP incumbent Jon Porter, who had held the seat since the district’s creation in 2003. Voter registration leans Democrat, but in a throw-the-bums-out year, anything goes.
Her ousting is made even more likely because of her partisan history. She voted “yes” on the stimulus, cap-and-trade, and health care. She’s also done nothing to rebut the stories of her beating up on likely GOP opponent Joe Heck, who did business with her in the Nevada legislature years ago. They bickered like schoolchildren, according to a recent story by Politico.
One major factor is the money supply. Sen. Harry Reid is launching a monsterous, $25 million campaign to register Nevada Democrats and hold on to his precious position as Majority Leader. That momentum could easily filter down to the House races. 52 percent had an unfavorable opinion of Reid, 33 percent had a favorable view and another 15 percent said they're neutral. And Titus has a titanic amount of cash herself, having raised $1.25 million to Heck’s $350,000.
But Reid’s ratings are down, with 52 percent of Nevadans saying they view him unfavorably, according to a January Mason-Dixon poll. Even more encouraging is a polling out of Heck’s camp that shows him leading 40 percent against Titus’ 35 percent, sending a message loud and clear that money won’t make all the difference.
“This fast-growing, politically divided district isn't an easy place for any incumbent to thrive. And Titus's reputation as a partisan, going back to her days as a state legislative leader, is a serious liability right now,” said Charlie Cook, in his recent report on the 3rd district race.
Heck agrees that Titus’ partisan reputation is damaging, but also that her votes are a major liability.
“She's out of touch with the District. The majority of people did not want the health care bill passed. She voted for cap and trade, she voted to bring Gitmo detainees to stand for trial,” said Heck. “Dina has done nothing – nothing – to bring jobs to District 3.”
Heck, a doctor and a businessman, insists that he’s the best alternative for Nevadans. He will face a handful of other competitors in Nevada’s June 8 primary.
“I have an understanding of the impact of increased taxes and increased regulation on how I run my business,” said Heck. “I've worked in public county hospitals, private for-profit hospitals, and government hospitals, and I have a better understanding of what's wrong with government and how to fix it."