Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1st District debate - Las Vegas Review - Journal

Posted: Sep. 19, 2012 | 2:03 a.m.

The public isn't hearing much about Nevada's 1st Congressional District race. Registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republicans by more than a 2-to-1 margin in the urban Las Vegas district. The outcome of the election is assumed to be predetermined and, as a result, GOP resources are flowing elsewhere.

That's a huge benefit to Democrat Dina Titus, an ex-state Senate leader and former one-term congresswoman. The Republican candidate, Chris Edwards, is a relative unknown facing long odds.

Voters frequently complain about negative campaign ads, but they should consider the alternative: no campaigning at all. No debates between the candidates have been scheduled, although a spokesman from Ms. Titus' campaign said Monday her team "is working through" a single debate request.

In Northern Nevada's 2nd District, Republican Rep. Mark Amodei enjoys a safe seat as well. Republicans make up 44 percent of the district's voters, compared with the Democrats' 34 percent. Rep. Amodei's Democratic challenger, Sam Koepnick, is essentially unfunded and unknown.

Yet Rep. Amodei has agreed to debate Mr. Koepnick so voters can see how each man thinks on his feet and responds to challenges on policy positions. They will debate Oct. 18 on Reno's PBS-TV affiliate.

Ms. Titus should debate her underdog challenger, too. And not simply because this newspaper has endorsed Mr. Edwards, a retired Navy commander.

She should debate him because it's good for democracy. Because it's good to have an informed electorate engaged in the choices they must make come November. Because voters deserve to see, first-hand, the intellectual rigor of their representatives. Let's see a Titus-Edwards debate soon.

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