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November 24, 2014

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Q+A: Voters’ guide for the District 1 election and Dina Titus

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L.E. Baskow

Rep. Dina Titus speaks at the Clean Energy Summit at Mandalay Bay on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Las Vegas voters will decide this fall whether to re-elect their representative in Congress, Dina Titus.

The race has all the drama of watching grass grow in the desert. Titus has held the seat since 2013, the first since the district’s boundaries were redrawn in 2011 to accommodate Nevada’s growing population and fourth congressional seat.

Titus does have a Republican challenger and two third-party challengers, but they lack name recognition, validity and money.

Here's a voters' guide to the race for District 1.

Where is District 1?

District 1 covers most of Las Vegas proper, from McCarran International Airport to the North Las Vegas city limits. It’s the smallest geographic congressional district of the state’s four but the most urban and the most densely populated.

Who’s running in District 1?

District 1 is heavily Democratic. Democrat voters outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. Titus has served in Congress before, representing Henderson and Boulder City before the 2011 redistricting. That's when she lost the seat to Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican. She also served from 1993-2009 in the Nevada Senate as the party’s minority leader. She’s sufficiently cemented in Nevada politics that it appears her new seat is hers to hold onto for as long as she’d like.

Titus’ Republican challenger is Dr. Annette Teijeiro, a physician running as a fiscal conservative. But state Republicans haven’t put much stock in Teijeiro’s campaign, and most national Republicans haven’t even heard of her. In addition, she has about $103,000 on hand since June 30, much of it financed herself. That’s compared with Titus’ $344,000.

Libertarian candidate Richard Charles and Independent candidate Kamau Bakari are also on the ballot, but neither has done much to campaign beyond set up websites.

What are the major issues?

Immigration has shaped up as one of the topics for discussion in District 1, which has the highest Hispanic-voting age of any of the state’s districts. Titus supports comprehensive immigration reform that entails a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, and she has the support of influential Hispanic leaders in Las Vegas.

Titus is also an active supporter of the veterans’ communities and helping the state’s transition to medical marijuana go smoothly. She’s a solid workhorse for Democratic party principles such as raising the minimum wage, equal pay among genders and same-sex equality.

Teijeiro's focus is on jobs and immigration reform in a district that was hit hard by the recession and that has a large Hispanic population, according to her campaign. She is the daughter of two immigrants and told the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board she has support in the Hispanic community. Her campaign website says she is running to “overturn or overhaul” the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which she calls “a legislative nightmare.” She also supports lowering taxes to encourage investment.

What’s been the biggest news of the race?

There’s been hardly any news at all in the District 1 race. The one item of note is when Hispanics in Politics, a group Las Vegas Latino advocates, endorsed Teijeiro over Titus in an August meeting. But the endorsement is not expected to sway the election.

Who are the biggest supporters of the candidates?

Titus has the backing of all the state’s Democrats. Her support among Democrats is so high that when the District 1 seat opened up after redistricting, other Democratic lawmakers eyeing it stepped aside in deference to her.

Teijeiro has been endorsed by the state’s Republican party.

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