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Titus’ resignation from panel points to imminent Congress run

Former U.S. House member Dina Titus confirmed Monday she has resigned from a federal appointment to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, another sign that she plans to run again for Congress.

“It’s becoming more imminent that I’ll become a candidate,” Titus said. “So I thought that (resigning) would be the proper thing to do. You can’t be a candidate and be on the commission because of the Hatch Act,” she added, referring to a law that bars federal employees from political activity.

Titus said she couldn’t say exactly when she would formally announce a U.S. House run but it would likely be soon and before a special panel draws Nevada’s new lines for four congressional district.

Titus was a longtime Nevada state Senate leader and a one-term federal lawmaker representing suburban Las Vegas in the 3rd Congressional District who was defeated for re-election in the Republican wave of 2010.

The disclosure that Titus further is positioning herself to run again comes the same day that Assembly Speaker John Oceguera announced he also plans to run for Congress.

While Oceguera did not say which seat he plans to pursue, he currently lives in the 3rd Congressional District and had critical remarks Monday about incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

State Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, also is expected to announce he’s running for Congress in the next couple of weeks.

Nevada will have at least three opportunities for Democrats to run for the House in the 2012 election. Besides a challenger for Heck, Rep. Shelley Berkley is giving up her House seat to run for Senate, and redistricting will open yet another seat.

In the state’s fourth seat that is centered on Reno, Carson City and the rural counties, Democratic Kate Marshall is running against Republican Mark Amodei in the Sept. 13 special election to succeed Dean Heller, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year.

State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and state Sen. Ruben Kihuen are among other Democrats considering running for federal office.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., as Senate majority leader, appointed Titus to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission shortly after she was defeated for re-election by Heck last November.

Titus further signalled her interest in a campaign re-entry by accepting a buyout last month from UNLV, where she returned to teaching political science after her election loss.

Titus, who had an annual salary of $107,855, took a buyout at $161, 782, which was 1.5 times her salary.

Titus attended last Friday’s meeting in Washington of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and made her resignation effective the next day. She said she had notified Reid so he could select another appointee to replace her in time for the panel’s next meeting in August.

The commission investigates complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their voting rights. It also studies federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.

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