Monday, March 31, 2008 | 3:40 p.m.
Jill Derby, the former university regent, is challenging Dean Heller, the former Nevada secretary of state, to represent the state's 2nd Congressional District. The topic of the day? Iraq.
Derby announced today that she's joined 41 House candidates and four Senate hopefuls in signing onto "The Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq," a 36-page document assembled from existing congressional legislation and packaged by national security experts and retired generals.
The plan calls for an immediate drawdown of troops and a dramatic increase
of regional diplomacy. As the Washington Post notes, plan supporters are breaking with senior Democrats and the party's presidential candidates in rejecting the idea of leaving U.S. troops on the ground to train Iraqi security forces or engage in anti-terrorism operations. Only a security force to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad would remain.
Heller, who bested Derby in 2006 by 5 percentage points, has supported the
Bush administration's Iraq policy. Derby, who led the Nevada Democratic
Party through the presidential caucuses this year and relinquished her role
as state chairwoman last month to run for office, has vowed to take the incumbent Republican to task for failing to act with the kind of independence she says the district's voters demand.
"Nevadans are tired of Dean Heller walking in lockstep with the Bush Administration on what has proven to be a failed strategy for Iraq," Derby said in a statement.
This from Heller's spokesman Stewart Bybee:
"Congressman Heller believes that America should get out of Iraq more intelligently than we got in. Last year, Congressman Heller joined Republicans and Democrats in cosponsoring legislation to implement the
recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group."