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February 17, 2018

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Titus supports Sisolak for governor, sees NLV mayor as contender for Kihuen’s seat

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Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

Rep. Dina Titus speaks at Las Vegas City Hall after a prayer walk Saturday, October 7, 2017.

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, said this week that she will support Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in the 2018 election for Nevada governor.

Sisolak is expected to face fellow Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Titus said both Giunchigliani and Sisolak are her friends, but she decided to support Sisolak after his display of leadership after the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

“(I'm supporting Sisolak) for a number of reasons, but the most recent one was the leadership he showed during that great tragedy on Oct. 1,” she said on “Nevada Newsmakers.”

“It told me he is a person who can be governor and lead us in good times as well as bad,” Titus said.

Since U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., announced last week that he would not see re-election, interest among Democrats for the 4th District seat in the House is high, Titus added.

“A half-dozen people have called me and said they are interested in running," Titus said. "My main concern is let’s pick somebody who can not only win but can hold the seat.”

Kihuen, in his first term, faces a House Ethics investigation after being accused of making repeated unwanted sexual advances toward a handful of women.

Titus said she was “not particularly” surprised at Kihuen's downfall but declined to elaborate.

She said she was enthusiastic about North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, who is a Democrat, replacing Kihuen.

“I can certainly work with John Lee,” Titus said. “I work with him now with things at the federal level to help the local government. He fits the demographics of that district. The Democrats are a big party. You don’t all have to be liberal. You can all fit your own district, and I think he has gotten a lot of respect as the mayor of North Las Vegas.”

Titus also mentioned state Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, and University Regent Allison Stephens as other Democrats interested in the seat.

She said she was not supportive of former U.S Rep. Steven Horsford attempting to regain the seat. In 2012, Horsford was elected the 4th District's first representative when it was created after the 2010 census. Horsford lost to Republican Cresent Hardy in 2014. After one term, Hardy lost to Kihuen in 2016.

“(Horsford’s) been putting out feelers. He called me,” Titus said. ”So I think he is interested. I’m not sure if he can win or not. He lost in a year that was bad for Democrats, but it was a nine-point district (Democrats’ voter registration advantage).”

Titus noted Horsford stayed in Washington after the loss to work as a lobbyist. “You can kind of seeing the ads (political advertisements against Horsford) writing themselves,” Titus said.

The recent loss by Republican Judge Roy Moore in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama is a good sign for Democrats heading into the 2018 election, Titus said.

“We’ve got a tailwind going, and I think we can carry that into the fall election,” she said. “There is a real good chance that the Democrats will take the (U.S.) House.”

Ray Hagar is a retired political journalist from the Reno Gazette-Journal and current reporter/columnist for the Nevada Newsmakers podcast and website, nevadanewsmakers.com. Follow Ray on Twitter at @RayHagarNV.