Ray Hagar: if Nevada’s Titus jumps into Senate race, Rosen should get out, Dem says

If Nevada’s 1st U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus runs for the U.S. Senate, first-term U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen should get out of the race, said a leading Democratic lobbyist and pundit.

“I would think that she should (get out of Senate race) and stay in that other hard-fought congressional seat,” Marlene Lockard said of Rosen’s 3rd U.S. House District seat, first won by Rosen in 2016.

Lockard, former chief of staff to Nevada Gov. Richard Bryan and current partner in the Lockard Group, said on Nevada Newsmakers that many Democrats also want Rosen to remain in the District 3 seat longer after working so hard to first get her elected last year.

“You know there are many that are unhappy, who worked so hard for her to win that seat and the national Democrats poured a ton on money into that seat (only) to have her in a little over six months, declare she’s running for another office,” Lockard said.

Lockard, who has supported Titus in her past political battles, said Titus would defeat Rosen if the two were matched in a Congressional Democratic primary.

“If she (Titus) got in it, she would win,” Lockard said. “There’s no question about that.”

Rosen has already won endorsements from two of Nevada’s leading Democrats — U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and 4th District Rep. Ruben Kihuen, whose district includes Nye County. Rosen also has been endorsed by Emily’s List, a national pro-choice women’s group who financially support like-minded candidates.

Yet all of those quick endorsements were due to arm twisting by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, Lockard said.

“That’s Harry Reid,” Lockard said. “That’s pressure from Harry Reid.”

Reid retired after a long career in the U.S. Senate at the end of 2016. The political machine he built in Nevada — which helped Democratic presidential candidates win Nevada in the last three presidential elections — is dubbed, “The Reid machine.”

Reid and Titus, however, have a testy history.

Reid and other top Democrats lined up behind former Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson in the 2006 gubernatorial race, only to see Titus defeat Gibson in the Democratic primary.

In 2012, Reid tried to help then-state Sen. Kihuen of North Las Vegas capture the Democratic nomination for Nevada’s 1st U.S. House seat. Reid’s backing did not deter Titus, who won the seat that year and still holds it now. Kihuen, who returned to the state Senate, won the U.S. House District 4 race in 2016.

When asked why the bad blood exists between Reid and Titus, Lockard said, “You’d have to ask him.”

“He simply does not like Dina,” Lockard continued. “And Dina is independent. Dina is not malleable. If he called her to endorse a fellow congressperson when another one was contemplating getting in, I don’t think she would do it, out of respect to the other elected colleagues weighing that decision.

“The fact that he influenced Catherine Cortez Masto to do it, and Ruben Kihuen. It is all Harry Reid,” Lockard said.

If Titus were to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate race, Lockard was not sure Reid would support her.

“I’m not sure,” she said. “He has stabbed Dina a number of times so I’m just not sure.

“And you know, I like Sen. Harry Reid,” Lockard said. “I am just stating the facts here.”

Ray Hagar is a journalist for “Nevada Newsmakers.” More information on the public affairs broadcast program, podcast and website is available nevadanewsmakers.com

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