Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 | 12:31 p.m.
Former Rep. Dina Titus announced her candidacy for Congress this morning, saying she will seek a return to Washington by running against fellow Democrat and state Sen. Ruben Kihuen in the state’s 1st District.
By doing so, she sidesteps a rematch with Republican Rep. Joe Heck, who ousted her two years ago.
Announcing at Dina Titus Estates, a housing complex for the elderly and disabled that was named for her in 2006, Titus decried the “radical right,” many of whom were swept into office from widespread anger over the poor economy. House Republicans, now in the majority, are turning back many of the gains made when she served in Congress after election in 2008, she said.
With her announcement, Titus set up a primary fight between herself and state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, who has already announced his candidacy. While sources have said Titus was being pressured not to run against a fellow Democrat considered to have a good shot at the seat, Bob Coffin, Las Vegas City Councilman, called that wrongheaded.
“Competition brings out the best,” said Coffin, who joined Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani as local politicians who turned out to support Titus.
Asked if Kihuen, who is Hispanic, might have a better shot at the seat because the district is 43 percent Hispanic, Giunchigliani said that doesn’t matter.
“People vote for the candidate based on issues, not whether they are Hispanic or a woman,” she said.
Coffin, who is also Hispanic, said “both candidates are good ones,” but he likes Titus more for her proven track record. He added that Kihuen is young, and if he loses he’ll have decades more to take runs at elected office.
With her husband nearby, Titus made a series of crowd-pleasing statements about the need for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, that Congress caters to the likes of the billionaire Koch brothers, that she would never favor privatizing Social Security and that her aim will be to create jobs by focusing on education, technology and renewable energy.
Titus’ introductory theme song, “Still The One,” a 1976 hit used as a jingle for the ABC television network during that era, reminded those attending that just two years ago she was in Congress before being unseated by Heck.
At the close of her announcement, one woman in the audience made reference to that race.
“Thank goodness I saved my bumper stickers,” she said.