U.S. Rep. Dina Titus during her appearance on Nevada Newsmakers. The episode aired March 16, 2022.
Editor's Note: This article was been updated to clarify that Nevada State Democratic Party has not endorsed any candidate in the 2022 Midterm Elections.For more Nevada Newsmakers, click here.Facing challenges from the left and right in the 2022 elections, Nevada's longtime 1st U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus said on Nevada Newsmakers that her congressional district has been redrawn into "the worst" congressional district in the state.
"This is the worst district in the state," Titus, D-Las Vegas, told host Sam Shad about the recent redistricting, brought on by the 2020 U.S. Census. "After having been the best district, it is now the worst."
Titus' assertion that CD 1 has gone from a Democratic stronghold to a general-election battleground comes after redistricting and the "Democratic Socialists of America" took control of the Nevada State Democratic Party in 2020.
Then, Judith Whitmer was elected State Democratic Party chair and the DSA took a majority of seats on the executive board. It split a party that had been so unified under former Sen. Harry Reid and led to the establishment of the "Nevada Democratic Victory" in Washoe County.
"It is interesting," Titus said. "I am the most progressive person in the (federal) delegation and yet the party has been taken over by the Democratic Socialists. They call themselves socialists. And the left has targeted certain districts, safe districts so they can win the primary and be home free in the general. And as it turns out, you are not going to breeze in the general (in CD 1)."
Now, Titus faces strong challenges in the primary and general elections later this year to retain her seat in Congress, although CD 3 and CD 4 now appear more favorable to Democrats after the latest redistricting.
Titus will face progressive activist Amy Vilela in the primary. In the general election, the Democratic-primary winner will face Republican challenger Cresent Hardy, Nevada's former CD 4 representative.
Vilela, a Socialist Democrat, served as the Nevada state co-chair for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2020. Hardy, elected to Congress in 2014 from CD 4, lost CD 4 races in 2016 and 2018 before turning to CD 1 this year.
Titus' brand of progressiveness is more centered than the DSA's, she said.
"I am a progressive but I don't believe in defunding the police," Titus said. "I'm for Medicare for all but you've got to do it in a step-by-step process. When I voted for Obamacare, it had the public option coming out of the House. I am for every environmental issue out there. You know I'm the one who started all of these renewable-energy portfolio standards, tax breaks and all. But I can't just say overall, 'The Green New Deal" because that is a push toward nuclear power. And until you solve the nuclear-waste issue, I don't think we need to be developing more nuclear power."
The new neighborhoods in CD 1 are some of the same ones that Titus represented as a state senator in the Legislature, so she will not be totally unfamiliar with the redrawn district.
"They've split the district and I will run wherever the lines are," Titus said. "I've always said that I am a fighter for all of Nevada so that part doesn't matter."
She lamented that the cohesiveness of the former district will be lost and Asian and Latino voting blocs will be split.
"The district was a cohesive district that had a lot of issues in common, whether that was immigration with the Asian and Hispanic populations or all of that gaming (CD 1 includes the Las Vegas Strip)," she said.
"It was a real cohesive district and I spent 10 years getting to know and love and help the people in that district," Titus said. "I care about that district. Some people don't seem to care and draw the lines wherever you want. It's just about getting re-elected.
"So I worry that those people won't have representation," she added. "So that is kind of where I am coming from."
The Republicans' key election issue in 2022 – election integrity – is a red herring, Titus said.
"There are still people saying that the last election was stolen and Donald Trump won that," Titus said. "And he's got his minions repeating that story and some of them are even in Congress now. The woman from Georgia (Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene), she is always talking about the stolen election. Arizona – how many times have they recounted the ballots there?"
Titus praised Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, for the way she handled election integrity issues in 2020.
"We have not had that problem in Nevada. Our secretary of state stood up. She is a Republican and she said this is the way we do it, this is how we did it and it was not a stolen election. There were not the problems people said there are. So I am confident that will continue in Nevada."