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[Politics]

Luck of the drawl

What’s in an accent? According to Dina Titus’ latest commercial, ‘everythang’

A familiar Nevada voice reaches out from a TV ad and grabs you by the throat: “People ask me why, after 30 years in Las Vegas, I still have an accent,” says Sen. Dina Titus in a thick Georgia drawl.

“What accent?” says a woman who looks—and sounds—like Dina a few years down the line: her mother, Betty. Ma Titus is seated at the kitchen table with her daughter, coffee cup in hand, just shootin’ the breeze, and she goes on to mention that the precocious Dina skipped the 12th grade, capped property taxes and “pushed Nevada out front on renewable energy.”

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Dina Titus

“She gon’ shake things up in Congress,” concludes Ma Titus. It’s the Titus campaign’s first (and so far, only) TV ad in her bid to unseat Republican Jon Porter. We asked Titus spokesperson Andrew Stoddard about grappling with the state’s most famous, or infamous, Southern accent.

With so many issues out there to choose from, why spend your ad dollars addressing her accent?

“Las Vegas is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, and we want to make sure people know she’s been here a long time.”

Is having an accent a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, politicians make ads aimed at being down-home and folksy. On the other hand, Titus’ accent was used against her in her gubernatorial bid, when Gibbons supporters cast her drawl as hillbilly-like.

“It’s distinctive. I don’t know if there’s been any polling one way or another, but it makes her more recognizable, and that can help.”

In a Review-Journal article, the Porter campaign criticizes the ad as “void of any real issues.”

“The ad focuses on her accomplishments in the Senate. We think she has a much stronger record than Porter. You want a candidate people can connect with, and you want an ad people are going to remember.”

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