WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Dina Titus is touting her success in establishing economic assistance and transportation projects in southern Nevada in her re-election race against GOP challenger Mark Robertson, a retired US colonel. U.S. military wants to return fiscal responsibility to Congress.
Libertarian candidate Ken Cavanaugh said less government would provide more freedom and personal liberty.
All three candidates are on the ballot for the Nov. 8 general election in the new Congressional District 1, which includes Las Vegas, parts of Henderson and Boulder City.
Voters will have distinct choices in the race with an outcome that could determine which party controls the US House of Representatives.
Titus, 72, is seeking a seventh term in Congress. Prior to Congress, she served 20 years in the Nevada State Senate.
She is chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. She drafted pandemic relief and infrastructure legislation that garnered Republican support for highway, airport, railroad and water projects that will pour millions into Nevada.
In his role as House leader, Titus was instrumental in changing federal funding formulas to include a state’s unemployment rate, which brought an additional $1 billion to Nevada in economic aid during a pandemic that has killed 1 million Americans, including more than 11,000 people in Nevada. .
“We were the hardest hit region with the highest unemployment rate in the country. And now we recover the fastest,” Titus said, citing the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
She said federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act has helped Nevada businesses, workers and families with loans, unemployment benefits, vaccines and equipment and training for first responders.
“We need to continue in this vein to fully have a sustainable recovery,” Titus said.
His opponents, Robertson and Cavanaugh, called recent federal spending wasteful and said it had led to record inflation.
Robertson, 63, said he’s spoken to thousands of Southern Nevadans, and the No. 1 issue is the economy and inflation.
“And what got us into inflation was trillion-dollar overspending and unnecessary government spending — and then shutting down our economy, shutting down factories and stores,” Robertson told the Review- Log.
Robertson, a veteran and former senior adviser to the Department of Defense, draws on his background as a businessman and financial planner. He quit his business to run for Congress.
“You stop excessive and unnecessary government spending and you stop paying people not to work. They go back to work in our factories and the business owners can find people to hire and produce the goods and services,” said Robertson, who taught business at UNLV.
He rejects the argument that the Russian war in Ukraine, and its impact on energy supplies, is the cause of soaring inflation. Robertson said the inflation rate in the United States was 7.8% before the war.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Robertson said the government shut down the economy and then sent money to bail out state and local governments, which now have budget surpluses. The money, he said, was also given unnecessarily to businesses and workers, some without need.
Stimulus checks sent to government employees, who have never been unemployed, are an example of wasteful spending, according to Robertson.
“There was not a single federal government employee who lost their job or missed a paycheck during the government shutdown, but every single one of them received a stimulus check,” Robertson said.
Cavanaugh, 66, a retired telecommunications worker, also said reversing inflation was needed to support the economy. He agreed that this is the most important issue in the race.
And the only way to reverse inflation, Cavanaugh told the Review-Journal, “is to withdraw the money that has been pumped into the economy.”
To do that, he says, “you have to do something that (former President) Bill Clinton did in the early 90s. You have to collect taxes and stop spending them, in this case. In fact, you have to burn the money.
“So that’s $5 trillion, $6 trillion that the feds have to collect in taxes and then do nothing with it and destroy it,” Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh first ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2000 as a Pennsylvania libertarian. Since then he has been involved in the Libertarian Party in Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Nevada.
The three candidates differ significantly on abortion and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade who made it a constitutional right.
Robertson said Nevada codified a woman’s right to an abortion in 1990 with a referendum passed overwhelmingly by voters in the state. “It’s a well-established law,” he said.
But Titus and other congressional Democrats have warned that Republicans, with oversight from Congress, could pass a federal ban that would override laws in states like Nevada.
Although some GOP lawmakers have called for the passage of a federal ban, he would still face legislative hurdles such as a filibuster in the Senate and a presidential veto.
“I support the overturning of Roe v. Wade, not just because I’m pro-life, and I am, but because it was the right legal decision,” Robertson said.
The High Court ruling rightly sent the decision on abortion back to the United States, Robertson said. Democratic positions on the issue, Robertson said, were aimed at deflecting the party’s dismal economic record.
Titus called the Supreme Court decision “an assault on all women, but especially those who live in minority, underserved and impoverished communities.”
“They will be forced to take drastic and dangerous measures to self-manage abortions or carry unwanted pregnancies to term,” she said.
Titus said abortion rights are human rights and the ruling “energized women voters.”
“A lot of young women are signing up now and mostly because they’ve realized that something they took for granted before is now in jeopardy,” Titus said.
“People think they’re protected here with (state law),” Titus said. “The problem is, we’re protected now, but if the Republicans take over and pass a national law, this could all go away.”
Titus, a former UNLV history professor, also said that Roe v. Wade was grounded in the right to privacy and that the recent Supreme Court ruling calls into question protections on contraceptives, gay and interracial marriage.
Cavanaugh falls into the libertarian camp that abortion is a matter of personal conscience and that the government should not violate human rights.
Personally, Cavanaugh said, he is “a pro-life Christian.”
Still, Cavanaugh said the Supreme Court made the right decision in deciding to overturn Roe v. Wade. “The word abortion does not exist in the Constitution; it’s not in the Bill of Rights.
“As a libertarian, first of all, I believe you do what you want to do as a person, which basically amounts to if you want to abort your fetus, abort your fetus,” Cavanaugh said, later adding , “I don’t think I’m going to invite you to play bridge with me, but there you go.
Titus holds a huge fundraising advantage in the race to retain his seat. She has raised $1.7 million and has $1.6 million in cash, according to documents filed by the Federal Election Commission in June.
Robertson raised $720,533 and had $201,112 left after a competitive Republican primary, records show. Cavanaugh did not raise or spend funds for his run.