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October 19, 2014

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Political Memo:

Titus, Ocegeura won’t let redistricting uncertainty hold up campaigns

Dina Titus

Dina Titus

John Oceguera

John Oceguera

Nevada’s congressional hopefuls may not know which ring they’re aiming for yet, but that hasn’t stopped them from tossing their hats in the general direction of Southern Nevada.

Precious time is passing as the courts — taking over after the Legislature failed — finish redrawing congressional boundaries. About 15 months remain until Election Day 2012, and the primary is less than a year away; in short, time to get cracking.

“We advise potential candidates to act now,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said. “It’s not just Nevada: Throughout the country, where you have late redistricting, candidates should take care of what’s in their control now and not worry about what’s out of their control later.”

That’s the rationale behind the announcements of former Rep. Dina Titus and Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera last week that they would run for Congress.

“I just assumed the Legislature would take care of business (on redistricting) and we’d know by June,” said Titus, who announced her run Tuesday. “Then they were saying the end of the summer. Now it’s anybody’s guess ... so there’s no point in waiting anymore.”

“We have no real idea where those districts are going to be drawn,” said Oceguera, who announced his candidacy Monday.

The lines are going to bind congressional candidates in both parties. But Republicans have a better sense of the turf: Rep. Joe Heck, who beat Titus in a close race last November, represents the 3rd Congressional District and intends to stay there, even if his home is drawn out of the district.

The waiting also hasn’t stopped the candidates from raising money.

Heck pulled in more than $311,000 in the second quarter of 2011 and has more than $414,000 in the bank. That’s more than the 2nd District special election candidates, and Heck doesn’t have a declared opponent yet.

No law says members of the House of Representatives have to live in the district they represent; the only requirement is that they live in the state. Titus, for instance, lived just outside the 3rd District for the two years she represented it in Congress.

“Issues in Washington affect people whether they live in Henderson or Summerlin,” said Titus, who represented parts of the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts during her tenure in the state Senate. “I’m no stranger to anybody in Southern Nevada.”

While squabbles between Democrats and Republicans kept the Legislature from completing the task, likely scenarios have emerged. The 3rd and/or 4th Districts will likely be swing districts, more or less evenly divided between the parties, while Democrats are expected to maintain their advantage in the 1st District — the Las Vegas-based district Rep. Shelley Berkley is vacating after more than a decade to run for the Senate.

In the 3rd District, Heck’s incumbency presents a challenge to Democrats.

Titus said Wednesday that she does not expect to run against Heck.

Oceguera, on the other hand, said he’s “not going to shy away from taking on an incumbent.”

But both hope they won’t have to take on other Democrats to reach the general election. By coming off the block early, Titus and Oceguera may have staked a claim, but without a district to pin it to, it may not ward off other Democrats — especially when there’s another Southern Nevada district that could use a candidate.

The DCCC has talked to about a half dozen potential candidates — Oceguera, Titus, Steven Horsford, the state Senate majority leader, and Ruben Kihuen, a state senator with a high profile in the Hispanic community.

It’s about as varied a slate as you can get. But if they want to avoid primaries, Democrats are going to have to sell each other on whose strengths will play best in each district. National Democrats, Israel said, plan to keep their noses out of the process.

In the meantime, Titus and Oceguera said they plan to pummel Republicans with similar messages.

“You have to go out and talk about who you are, what you represent, and convince people that you’re a viable candidate,” Oceguera said. “In general, I think it’ll work itself out.”

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  1. I would certainly support Oceguera against Heck. Ideally, Dina would defend Shelly's seat and Ruben would take the new district. And then there's Kate:)

  2. These may be worthy people, BUT the whole idea of Representative in Congress is for the folks of a District to elect one of themselves to represent that District in Congress. Here we have individuals putting themselves forward somewhere, where they may or may not be residing. This seems to turn the idea upside down.

  3. Here is the problem as I see it. These people represent THEMSELVES, not any citizen of Nevada. THEMSELVES. They just know the rhetoric it takes to suck up a vote, they don't care about constituents, and let me say this, we already have one of those in Washington and he refuses to even listen to "Cut, Cap and Balance" this week. We did get a STATE WIDE WAIVER for Obama Care, thanks to Harry, this State is one that just can't afford it, but, I guess, let us just hang on for the ride. But, with no districts drawn, it is name recognition only that these people are working on. Double Dipping means nothing, and this person is just trying to get into place for triple dipping. Excuse me, BOTH of these people are setting themselves up for another debt to the TAXPAYER. Where and when can we stop this. Citizens, stop and think when you vote.

  4. Hummmm, let's see what RECENT standards and experiences we can look at, compare, and make some sound judgements from...wait, the 76th Nevada State Legislative Session!

    I am sure that there are many Nevada Citizens who are just now feeling the legislated effects on their lives as policies/laws have taken effect. Examples are the thousands of State Workers who are experiencing furloughs, pay cuts, reduced benefits, and the real baddy, having their already contracted retirement benefits messed with! These are real people, members of our community, dedicated public servants treated in such a way.

    Then, we have our school employees. This last paycheck, thousands felt the bite of money taken that was NOT negotiated in their contracts to be taken. So presently, there is a very negative and hostile situation and environment, to wit: last April, CCSD sued the CCEA (Teacher's Union), and continues such a mindset. School starts the last week of August, and not much has happened to heal this, quite the contrary, the district has hired people with histories that tend to perpetuate a challenging stance. Then the teachers just got a mailer stating that their Teachers Health Trust insurance may be dumped by the new Supt. Jones. This could would create so much grief and distructive disruption in thousands of lives of educators and their families.

    When LAWMAKERS have NOT been responsible for doing the right thing in the good times, let alone the bad times, as RESTRUCTURE OR REFORM TAX LAWS, for businesses as, but not limited to, mining, casino/resorts, big box stores, and tourism, then we really need to examine their records with a microscope!

    Having a career in politics and "kicking the political can down the road," does not automatically qualify you as the perfect person to run for office. Look around and ask, how are your people doing thanks to YOUR LAWMAKING!

    This next election is NOT going to be a cake walk. There has been way too many Citizens hurt by awful, noncaring, self-servicing, kick the can, career politicians, who should NOT ever again serve the People because they violate their trust!

  5. Mr. Henry, not to put too fine a point on it, but, first, according to legal opinion, they can serve although they have been government employees. Second, if they have run in the past simply to take care of themselves as government employees, I would argue that they have done a pretty poor job of it: whatever Oceguera does or doesn't do, that is an issue for the City of North Las Vegas. In Titus's case, since she was paid less than the average professor nationally in her position and rank (including numerous teaching and research awards) and gave up salary to serve, it would seem to me that she sacrificed more than she made by being in Carson City. I have a bigger problem with the business owners who go to Carson City and serve only themselves in economic policy as opposed to the rest of us. As for what they do for us, when you talk about Nevada having needs, I wish they could have done more, but it's hard to overcome those who hypocritically believe that they owe the government nothing but their contempt.

  6. "Heck pulled in more than $311,000 in the second quarter of 2011 and has more than $414,000 in the bank. That's more than the 2nd District special election candidates, and Heck doesn't have a declared opponent yet."

    That is commendable of him. But I really, really don't see how money, vast amounts of it, can win an election. Especially after all the lies Republicans tell. An elected officials record is far more important than some stupid, glitzy, expensive sign or television sound byte.

    In Heck's case, it's not going to help. Mainly, because of two reasons.

    He was elected. Not popularly elected. Just elected during a mid-term election where there was poor voter turnout. He won by just about 1,900 votes. The popularity was never there. And it's confirmed by his inferior bordering on incompetent service to CD3 so far.

    And the other reason is the main reason: His voting record in just a short time in Congress is absolutely horrible. He votes according to what Speaker Boehner says, along party political lines, and not according to the needs of Nevada.

    No amount of money in the coffers of any candidate is going to help them if they basically spit on constituents.

    And that is exactly what Heck is doing. It is unbelievable his votes to defund Planned Parenthood, three votes against Federal money used in abortion (useless..because the Hyde Amendment is in place already that ensures that don't happen), the Ryan Plan which replaces Medicare with an inferior voucher plan that would kill off senior citizens through neglect for years to come, all while giving more and more tax cuts to the filthy rich, and now his vote for the Cut, Cap and Balance (which votes pretty much for the same things as the Ryan Plan...but to the tenth degree). Just to name a few. I could go on, but people can look it up if you don't believe me.

    His service is horrible. Plain and simple.

    I hope I end up in another district away from that idiot. Or, after re-districting happens, and I'm still stuck with him, this current crop of Democrats are WAY more preferrable to my horrible Congressman who NEVER EVER conducts town hall meetings in Eastern Las Vegas (only phone calls...FIVE SO FAR...where I'm allowed to ask a question and he decides whether he wants to answer it or not and/or hang up on me). I get the impression his phone call town hall thingamajigs are more important to pad his statistics than they are to serve constituents.

    Heck needs to go. CD3 needs better. I'm pretty sure those who voted for him are really getting a serious case of buyer's remorse by about now.

  7. Who made the donations to Heck's campaign chest?

  8. Two of the most UNTRUSTWORTHY Politicians in Nevada. Both double dipping in an already strained public treasury.

    JUST SAY NO !!