1st Congressional District: Titus faces Bentley in 2018 rematch

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Carolyn Kaster / AP

In this Feb. 28, 2020, photo, Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington.

Fri, Oct 16, 2020 (12:31 p.m.)

Nevada’s 1st Congressional District makes up the heart of the Las Vegas Valley. It covers the Strip, Fremont Street and the majority of the city of Las Vegas.

It’s been represented by Democratic Rep. Dina Titus since 2013 and hasn’t gone for a Republican this century.

John Ensign was the last Republican to hold the district, stepping down in 1998 to run for — and win — a seat in the Senate. He was first elected to the district in 1994.

Click to enlarge photo

Joyce Bentley, Republican candidate for Nevada's 1st Congressional District.

Titus has won her elections decisively. In 2016, she won 61.9% of the vote compared to Republican Mary Perry’s 28.8%.

This year’s election is a rematch of 2018, with former banker, real estate agent and businesswoman Joyce Bentley again winning the Republican nomination.

Titus won in 2018 with 66.2% of the vote compared to Bentley’s 30.9%.

Dina Titus

Titus is a fixture in Nevada politics. She was state Senate minority leader from 1993 to 2009 and represented the state’s 3rd Congressional District from 2009 to 2011.

Titus, the dean of Nevada’s congressional delegation, has positioned herself as a staunch critic of President Donald Trump, especially his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know we can’t recover from the (economic impact) until we recover from the virus, and this president has had no plan, no leadership, denied its existence, said it’s going to magically disappear and then played one state off against another when it comes to providing relief,” Titus said.

Unemployment relief, help for state and local governments and a plan for students to safely return to school are critical, Titus said.

Titus also criticized Trump for casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election by spreading the disproven notion that mail-in ballots result in substantial voter fraud.

“He knows he can’t win straight up, so he’s just trying to figure out a way to steal the election,” Titus said.

She also criticized Trump for failing to unequivocally disavow white supremacy at the first presidential debate and telling the Proud Boys, a neofascist organization with ties to white supremacy, to “stand back and stand by.”

Titus has also gone after Senate Republicans for what she characterizes as their unwillingness to work on stimulus solutions.

While House Democrats have passed stimulus packages, Senate Republicans have balked at the price tags. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has said the Senate will vote on a smaller package soon.

Trump, after originally stating he would not support any further stimulus packages until after the election, has since offered deals to House Democrats.

Titus touts achievements including lobbying to kill funding for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site.

She also voted for a bill to allow the Justice Department to subpoena police departments in bias investigations, limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to police departments and bar no-knock warrants in federal drug investigations. That bill is frozen in the Republican-led Senate.

Titus said she wants to help pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill and work on transportation projects, including Interstate 11, which would run from Nogales, Arizona, to Reno.

Joyce Bentley

Bentley has been almost nonexistent on the campaign trail.

She has not posted on her campaign’s Twitter account since July 25 or her campaign’s Facebook page since July 4. Posts on her campaign website date from 2018, when she first won the Republican nomination in the district.

What appears to be her most recent post on any social media platform is a YouTube video of her in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign touting her family’s ties to the military and criticizing Titus for supporting Obamacare.

On her campaign website, Bentley said she supports right-to-try laws, which allow terminally ill patients to receive drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

She also supports part of a 2017 act authorizing oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her website lists infrastructure and fiscal responsibility as important issues and stresses her support for the Second Amendment. She has also expressed support for term limits.

On education, Bentley called school curriculums “archaic” and said they should be modernized. She said she supports charter and vocational schools.

According to a story published during Bentley’s 2018 run by MediaMatters, a left-leaning media watchdog nonprofit, Bentley tweeted a video promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory.

The conspiracy purports a shadowy cabal of Satan worshippers control a deep state government involved in child sex trafficking and extracting a psychedelic drug from the blood of abused children.

Bentley did not respond to multiple emails requesting an interview. This story will be updated if she replies.

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