The New York Times rates this race a toss-up, and Congressional Quarterly has made mentioned that incumbent Dina Titus faces a much harder race this time around. The district she serves — Nevada’s 3rd — has been hard hit by job losses and home foreclosures, which will work heavily against her. Recent polls quoted on her campaign website place Titus up by a few percentage points. But Heck is still within easy reach of her Congressional seat if he can sway even a few thousand voters his way.
Candidates for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes most of Clark County, including suburban Las Vegas, Henderson and Summerlin. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: Dina Titus
Political experience: Titus was a member of the Nevada state senate from 1989 to 2009, serving the Clark 7th District. She began serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009.
Professional experience: Titus has a master’s degree and a PhD and spent a year teaching at North Texas State University before joining the faculty at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where she has been for almost 30 years. She is also a published non-fiction author.
Key issues: According to her website, Titus is focused on education, the environment, senior citizen issues and advocacy for the disabled. She lobbies for smaller class sizes for schools, and she is an advocate for full-day kindergarten. She is also focused on lowering drug prices for seniors by making it easier for them to buy their prescriptions from Canada. He is a strong advocate for the disabled, focusing on making more accessible homes. She supports a cap-and-trade environmental statute, and she has lobbied for energy-metering programs.
Endorsements: Titus is endorsed by the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Planned Parenthood, among others.
Chances of maintaining her seat: It’s about even. Titus is leading slightly, but she’s still within reach. Job loss is Nevada’s No. 1 concern, and she has to convince voters that she knows how to turn around her district’s unemployment, or Heck will close the gap. Look for her to continue to emphasize Heck’s proximity to the Tea Party’s Sharron Angle to show him as an extremist.
Candidate: Joe Heck
Political experience: Heck served in the Nevada state senate, representing the Clark 5th District from 2004 to 2008.
Professional experience: Heck is an osteopathic physician and serves in the Army Reserves, most recently being called up to help during Operation Joint Endeavor and Operation Noble Eagle, in 1996 and 2003, respectively. He is currently the president and medical director of Specialized Medical Operations, Inc.
Key issues: According to his website, Heck is focusing on job creation and growth as his first priorities through reforms to the state’s tax structure. He wants to increase national security by focusing on the security of ports of entry and national borders. He also wants to protect and expand the rights of sportsmen to public lands.
Endorsements: Heck is endorsed by Veterans for Freedom, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, among others.
Chances of unseating Dina Titus: He has a fair shot. Heck is being tied to U.S. Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, which isn’t to his benefit. He’s trailing slightly behind Titus, but he can close that gap in the next few weeks if he can convince voters that he is more likely to get them employed. Look for him to continue to blast Titus for the perceived failures of her party, in order to make her look out of touch with voters’ needs.
Key Differences between Joe Heck and Dina Titus
Jobs: Titus is focused on focused on job creation through support for infrastructure projects and tax credits for innovative start-ups, such as renewable-energy developers. Heck would cut business taxes in an effort to entice business, including repealing the death tax and reduction or elimination of the long-term capital gains tax.
Health care: Heck wants to implement personal tax deductions to allow people to buy individual insurance plans, and he wants to limits insurance mandates. Titus supports the federal health care reform and was a proponent of allowing seniors to purchase their prescriptions from Canada in order to lower costs.
Education: Titus is a proponent of college programs like the Pell grants. She increased funding for Direct Loans to make college more affordable. She increased the amount that teachers can claim for personal expenditures for the classroom, and she supports efforts to make public schools more energy-efficient to lower costs. Heck is in opposition to federal mandates like No Child Left Behind, and he says he wants to reform teacher-evaluation standards. He is also a proponent of school choice, including private and charter schools.
Nevada‘s 3rd U.S. Congressional District
Location: The Nevada 3rd District is located in the southern tip of Nevada, bordering California and Arizona. It wraps south, west and east of Las Vegas, taking in most of its suburbs.
2008 results: Titus defeated Republican Jon Porter 47 percent to 42 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 60.2 percent of the district is white, 6.5 percent black, 21.3 percent Hispanic, 8.4 percent Asian, and 0.6 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the Nevada 3rd District a rating of D+2, a slight advantage to Democrats.