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The Las Vegas Sun’s endorsements for the 2020 general election: Congressional races

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From left: Lee, Horsford and Titus

Congressional District 1 - Dina Titus (I)-D

Rep. Dina Titus is expected to win reelection handily, and with good reason. Not only is her main opponent the same candidate she soundly defeated in 2018, but Titus is coming off of a particularly strong term.

Titus distinguished herself by standing up to the Trump administration on a number of fronts.

As chairwoman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, she aggressively confronted the administration over conflict-of-interest issues involving the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. That property is housed in an old post office building that Trump’s business leases from the federal government, putting Trump in position to make ill-gotten profits off it as both its landlord and its tenant.

Closer to home, Titus also played a key role in fighting off the administration from shipping nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain and setting off nuclear weapons in Las Vegas’ backyard. Those are just a couple of areas where she championed Nevada’s interests—another includes her leadership to reauthorize the Brand USA travel marketing program, which was crucial at a time when the state’s tourism industry needs all the help it can get.

Titus’ constituents love her. In her last four elections, the closest a competitor got to her was 20 percentage points. She won by a whopping 35 percentage points in 2018 over Republican Joyce Bentley, whom she faces again this year.

The voters have been right all along about Titus, though. Nevadans are in good hands with her in Congress.

Congressional District 3 - Susie Lee (I)-D

In a sad period of politics in America marked by the wholesale marketing of lies and corruption, the race between Nevada Rep. Susie Lee and her main challenger, Dan Rodimer, marks a notably grim imbalance in values. Lee is an extraordinarily capable and experienced leader while Rodimer isn’t qualified or fit to serve in Congress no matter how low you set the bar.

Voters made an excellent choice in 2018 when they sent Lee to Capitol Hill for her first term, and she’s an even better candidate this year with two years of congressional leadership under her belt.

Lee distinguished herself in part for her bipartisan approach to her work. She joined the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, and her accomplishments in the caucus included helping formulate a compromise plan on the second round of pandemic relief funding this fall. Congress didn’t embrace the plan, unfortunately—if only everyone in Washington followed the Problem Solvers’ way of doing business, millions of Americans would have been helped.

Lee ended her first term as the highest-ranking Nevadan on a leading set of ratings for bipartisanship. Those rankings, issued by the Lugar Center, rank lawmakers based on how often they receive and give support to bills from their opposing party. Lee finished No. 103 overall, which was commendable given that Lee was a freshman and had just started making connections across the aisle.

But it was not bipartisanship simply for the sake of bipartisanship. She also knew when to push back for Nevada, as she showed by joining her fellow delegates in blocking the Trump administration’s efforts to resurrect the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, its insane plan to resume live nuclear weapon tests at the Nevada National Security Site and other proposals that would have negatively affected the state.

Lee represented Nevada well in other areas as well, including the environment, gun safety and health.

Not surprisingly, given her background in nonprofit advocacy for education, she also was strong in that area: A high point included sponsoring a successful resolution protecting students from fraudulent learning institutions like Trump University.

Before being elected to Washington, Lee was the founding director of After-School All-Stars, a local program that provides services to students after classes, and she served as president of Communities in Schools of Nevada, a leading student-support organization that provides 63,000 at-risk students statewide with various items they need to stay in school, from tutoring and transportation to food and clothing.

When the coronavirus hit, Lee stepped up for Nevada by supporting an expansion of Paycheck Protection Program loans to small gaming businesses in the state, which originally had been excluded under the program. Some critics attacked Lee, saying she’d acted unethically given that her husband’s gaming company benefited from the expansion, but that criticism was grossly unfair. First, Lee remained independent of the company’s application process. Second, it would have been irresponsible of her not to support the expansion at a time when hundreds of Nevada businesses were facing hardship.

Lee has earned a second term. She’s a solutions-based leader and a breath of fresh air in a place that, like American society itself, has become tribalized.

Her skill set will be incredibly necessary as the nation starts to recover from the chaotic mayhem of the Trump years.

Rodimer, on the other hand, is a candidate from the Trumpian reality-show version of politics.

A former WWE wrestler, Rodimer offers little in the way of policy vision and practically nothing in public leadership experience. Instead, he’s one of a large number of extremist Republicans running nationwide essentially on one attribute: That they’ll blindly support Trump.

Then there’s Rodimer’s well-documented history of violence, including a 2010 battery on a man in Florida and two incidents in Las Vegas in which his girlfriend, now his wife, called 911 alleging domestic violence. Rodimer entered a deferred prosecution agreement in the 2010 case, and his wife now says the emergency calls stemmed from a simple argument that involved no violence. Rodimer was not arrested or charged after those calls.

Here’s hoping Rodimer truly has become the peaceful family man he claims to be. But even so, he’s nowhere near comparable to Lee as a candidate.

We give Lee our strongest endorsement.

Congressional District 4 - Steven Horsford (I)-D

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest of its type outside of Alaska, and it’s one of Nevada’s most precious national treasures. The 1.6 million-acre refuge is home to a dazzling array of desert plants and animals, and it’s one of the most vital environments on earth for the survival of the iconic bighorn sheep and Mojave desert tortoise.

Now, imagine the military taking over 850,000 acres of it for training exercises, including detonation of live ordinance.

Nevada Rep. Stephen Horsford wasn’t about to let that happen. And thankfully for Nevada, he had the experience and skills to hold off a proposal to expand the Air Force’s Nevada Test and Training Range into the refuge.

This wasn’t easy, because at one anxious time the proposal appeared to be on its way to passage. In July, the House Armed Services Committee slapped Nevada in the face by approving the expansion in the military funding bill.

It was a shocking betrayal of Horsford and the other Southern Nevada delegates by their Democratic colleagues, who control the committee.

But this is where Horsford’s years of experience in Congress and, previously, in the state Legislature were invaluable. Horsford, in concert with Reps. Dina Titus and Susie Lee, was able to rally opposition to the expansion and get it written out of the final version of the House’s military funding bill.

That was a microcosm of Horsford’s impact for Nevadans.

He also worked to oppose the resurrection of Yucca Mountain and Trump’s plan to resume live nuclear bomb testing at the Nevada National Security Site, while working to obtain coronavirus relief funding for Nevada and protect our access to health care. Horsford was particularly active on reducing prescription drug prices, protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions, and regulating junk insurance plans.

Now, at a time when we can use all the stability we can get, Nevadans need Horsford’s steady leadership to continue. We endorse him for a third term.

Horsford was elected to the House in 2012 after serving two terms in the Nevada state Senate, where he became the first African American to serve as the majority leader. He was defeated in 2014 by a Republican who served one lackluster term before being defeated by Democrat Ruben Kihuen, whose decision not to seek reelection opened the door for Horsford to retake the seat in 2018.

His main opponent this year, Republican Jim Marchant, is a suitable candidate but comes nowhere near Horsford in terms of experience. Marchant, a retiree from the tech industry who has lived in Nevada since 2005, is running after serving just one term in the Nevada Assembly before being defeated in 2018.

Horsford is the overwhelming choice here.

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