A Las Vegas bank executive is seriously considering mounting a Republican challenge to Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.
John Guedry already has quit his job as executive vice president for City National Bank to prepare for a run against the first-term congresswoman and is telling friends and potential donors he's in the race.
"I made this decision because, like most of you, I have become increasingly concerned about the direction some of our elected officials in Washington, D.C., are taking our country and state," Guedry wrote in an e-mail to "friends, family and business colleagues" obtained by the Review-Journal last week.
Though unknown in political circles, Guedry, 49, is said to be well known in the business community. A University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate, he has worked in banking in Nevada for more than 25 years and has lobbied for the industry through the Nevada Bankers Association.
Guedry's candidacy was reported last week by the Washington publication Roll Call. In an interview, he said he thinks his business background gives him a good understanding of the economy and the need for fiscal responsibility.
Republicans hope to make Titus a top target in 2010, just as her predecessor representing the suburban Clark County 3rd Congressional District, Republican Jon Porter, always was for Democrats.
The district used to be evenly divided between Democratic and Republican voters, but Democrats' huge voter registration efforts for the 2008 election have tipped the balance in their favor in the district. As of May, there were nearly 39,000 more Democrats than Republicans in the district, which was 44 percent Democrat to 35 percent Republican.
Titus defeated Porter with 47 percent of the vote to his 42 percent, underperforming President Barack Obama, who took 55 percent of the vote in the district to Republican John McCain's 43 percent.
Titus spokesman Andrew Stoddard responded to the news by saying the congresswoman was focused on her work in the Capitol for her constituents.
"Dina Titus is going to continue to do what she has done since Day One: Cut taxes for Nevada's families and small businesses, work to create jobs in Southern Nevada, and fight to turn our economy around after years of failed economic policies," Stoddard said.
"Already in six short months, Congresswoman Titus has cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, supported health care for Nevada's children, opposed the second wave of bailout money for banks, and introduced legislation to help prevent foreclosures in Nevada."
Guedry, in his e-mail to supporters, said he sees Titus as too liberal and out of step with those she's supposed to represent. "Dina has voted 100 percent along party lines in Washington, demonstrating she is not interested in solutions, she is simply willing to blindly follow what her party wants her to," he wrote. "It appears that direction is bigger federal government, more control and even more federal spending to come."
A source close to Guedry said he could make an official campaign announcement as soon as next month.
Karl Rove, the Bush administration political mastermind who's now a conservative commentator, is scheduled to keynote the annual dinner of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, the think tank announced last week.
Rove has Nevada roots: He grew up in Sparks. The dinner is scheduled for Sept. 23 at The Venetian.
Reviled by the left and admired by the right for his role as the "architect" of George W. Bush's campaigns, Rove these days is a Fox News commentator and, according to NPRI's news release, has a book coming out in January.
"We at NPRI are honored to have him deliver the keynote speech at our annual dinner," NPRI President Sharon Rossie said in the news release. "I know our dinner attendees will enjoy and appreciate learning his thoughts on current events."
The "free-market" think tank has scored big names in the past, featuring former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at its dinner two years ago and hosting then-President Bush for a speech in January 2008.
Attempts to purge the Republican Party of dissident elements continue, with the Douglas County party last week discussing censure and expulsion of those Republicans who endorsed Sen. Harry Reid.
The Douglas County Republican Central Committee took up the resolution at its meeting Thursday.
Submitted by Stuart Posselt of Minden, the proposed resolution states that the Douglas County party "censures the below listed registered Republicans for their endorsement of Democrat U.S. Senator Harry Reid," and "expel(s) any of the listed registered Republicans from membership in the Douglas County Republican Central Committee and urge(s) all the other County Central Committees and the Nevada Republican Party to do the same."
Those on the list also would be disinvited from Republican functions, according to the resolution.
The measure was rejected at Thursday's meeting. Posselt said that fellow members were concerned it would be purely symbolic.
"Come on, guys, this is a Republican group, a partisan group," Posselt said. "If you're going to support a Democrat, sayonara."
The Clark County Republican Party last week passed its own resolutions in pursuit of ideological purity.
In an overwhelming voice vote, members approved the resolutions condemning legislators who voted for tax hikes in the recent legislative session; praising those who voted against the increases; and praising Gov. Jim Gibbons for vetoing them.
Clark County Republican Chairman Bernie Zadrowski, who proposed the resolutions, said his aim is to strengthen the party by having it stand on principle.
"I'm not coming at this to kick people out of the party or to silence anybody or divest anybody of a say," Zadrowski said. "But I'm coming at it from the perspective of (determining) who speaks for the Republican Party. Is it going to be the conservative base? Or is it going to be the moderated part of the party that thinks raising taxes is OK? ... I believe conservatives should be the dominant voice in the party."
According to conservative activist and blogger Chuck Muth, the Churchill County Republican Party passed a similar resolution last week, and the Nevada Republican Party is scheduled to consider one next month.
State Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, one of the tax-hiking Republicans targeted by the censure, said he chose raising taxes over gutting higher education and wished he'd had another choice.
"Ronald Reagan built huge majorities in this country by having a big-tent Republican philosophy," he said. "If guys like Jon Porter and John McCain and myself are not good enough to be Republicans, there's not a broad enough base out there to build back the majority."
Sources say Hardy is unlikely to run for re-election next year.
Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball @reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.