The 1st Congressional District in the center of Las Vegas is dominated by registered Democrats more than 2-to-1.
Titus won the district with 56.84 percent of the votes in the 2014 election, being one of a few Democrats to survive the red wave that swept the state, giving the GOP all of the state’s constitutional offices and control of both chambers of the state Legislature.
On the Republican side, six GOP candidates are gunning for the nomination in the June 14 primary.
Titus reported $307,242 cash on hand in her campaign fund at the end of March. No other candidate from either party comes close.
The last Republican to represent the district was John Ensign, who was elected in 1996.
Patrick Boylan, a small-business owner, has served on hi township advisory board, which makes zoning recommendations to the Clark County Commission. In 2002, he was elected to the State Board of Education, serving a four-year term.
Boylan said he favors increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and would repeal the nuclear deal with Iran, calling it a “terrible mistake” that emboldens Iran. The deal is intended to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, but critics say it has too many loopholes.
As the owner of a car rental franchise business, Boylan said his experiences give him the background to understand his neighborhood and the issues in the district.
Jose Solorio, a small-business consultant, served on the Clark County School Board for a couple of years in the 1990s after being appointed. Solorio said he plans to focus on engaging Latinos, youth and other voters looking for a candidate outside the establishment.
“I have a history of living in the district, going to school in the district, working and advocating for families in the district,” he said.
Solorio said he wants a humane immigration policy and he’s willing to work with people from both political parties.
“I totally disagree with building a wall and deporting 11 million residents,” he said.
Titus, who is running for a third two-year term, is a former political science teacher at UNLV. She’s been in Las Vegas since 1977.
Titus said the country needs comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. And while progress has been made on the backlog of veteran benefits cases, the appeals process still needs to be addressed, she said.
Titus also has focused on getting federal dollars for infrastructure improvements in the district, including Maryland Parkway. She said her office in 2015 worked on about 1,200 cases from constituents. Those cases can involve concerns such as Social Security or veterans benefits.
“While Congress is not doing much in terms of passing legislation, we put a real emphasis on casework,” she said.
Titus has supported President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. She has supported the Affordable Care Act, but worked to improve parts of it, including a much-criticized portion that would would tax high-priced insurance plans starting in 2018.
The GOP candidates are Louis “Blulaker” Baker, Stephanie Carlisle, Fred Horne, Gary “Coach” Johnston, Jeff Miller and Mary Perry. Most are new to running for office, pitching themselves as candidates who aren’t part of the political establishment.
Baker, a contractor, ran for a state Senate seat unsuccessfully in 2014 as a third-party Independent American candidate.
Baker supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, who is facing federal charges in connection with an armed standoff with federal agents in 2014.
Of Trump, Baker said, “I like the fact that he says to close the borders.”
Baker said he considers the Bundys to be “part of American history,” calling them “religious patriotic citizens.”
Carlisle favors term limits for elected officials and says freedoms allowed by the U.S. Constitution, such as free speech and the right to own firearms, need to be preserved.
“For me, I’m not a politician. I’m just a concerned mother and citizen,” she said, adding that veterans need better health care services.
Horne, who spent a career in the Army starting in the 1960s, later worked in the Army Corps of Engineers, Motorola and at IBM. A Vietnam veteran, Horne said he would bring a practical skill set that includes working with budgets and experience in public service and the private sector.
Horne said: “We can’t continue to spend at the rate we’re spending.”
If elected, he said, “I’m not going to be a career politician.”
Politics isn’t a career for Miller, either. An owner of a horseback riding company, Miller said he’s a simple cowboy who has had enough. Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, has “to go,” he said.
“Americans should not be forced into something,” he said. “That’s not the American way. It should be left to the will of the people.”
Perry, an attorney, ran for a judge seat in 2014 but didn’t win. Perry said the American dream of owning a small business needs to become easier for people. For example, she wants to better fund opportunities in the Minority Business Development Agency so that minorities have more resources to start businesses.
“I am all for bringing this country back using exactly what was done the first time around, and that was promoting small businesses,” she said.
She also wants to get rid of wasteful spending in government and said her background as an Air Force veteran gives her a good understanding of veterans’ needs.
Johnston couldn’t be reached for comment.
The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries will be on the November ballot, as will Kamau A. Bakari, an Independent American candidate, and Reuben D’Silva, an independent candidate.
Ben Botkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2904. Find @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.
Louis “Blulaker” Baker
Occupation: general/solar contractor
Occupation: Owner of a car rental franchise
Occupation: Commercial loan officer
Occupation: Retired career soldier and private sector manager
Occupation: Manager of horseback riding tour company
Occupation: small-business consultant
Dina Titus *
Occupation: Incumbent congresswoman