Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NV-01: BREAKING- Ruben Kihuen Withdraws from Primary

5:30 PM-

I literally just saw this a minute ago.

“I want to thank all the volunteers, voters, donors and other supporters who have supported me throughout this process, and this decision that I am announcing today. Unfortunately, the reality is that continuing my efforts to win in what would promise to be a resource draining primary at this time is not in the best interest for me, my family, my community and my party.

“Nevada has lived through the worst economic times in a generation. This year, our state will play a pivotal role in determining whether the United States stays on the path toward recovery by reelecting President Obama, or takes a sharp turn in a radical and dangerous direction.

“I will do everything I can to reelect President Obama and strengthen his hand by sending Democrats to the House and Senate, including Shelley Berkley, Steven Horsford, John Oceguera and Dina Titus. I will do all I can to encourage Latinos to make our voices heard through the electoral process—especially in November.

“For me, serving Nevada has always come first. I will continue to do that in the State Senate. We face a republican party that doesn’t understand the challenges people who live here confront every day. Nevadans need good-paying jobs – now. They need help staying in their homes – today. They need an economic plan that builds the diversified economy of Nevada’s future, starting yesterday. These challenges can’t wait. I’m going back to work on them tomorrow.”

I know this must be tough for Ruben. He truly is a rising star in the Democratic Party here in Nevada. And I still believe he has a very bright future ahead of him. And I hope he continues to fight for our commonly held progressive values in The Legislature. We will surely need him again in Carson City next year.

I know a whole lot of folks down here in Southern Nevada have been excited about Ruben's campaign. I just hope they don't lose hope over this. Trust me, we will continue to see Latin@ Nevadans become more involved in our process and gain more of the power and voice that they deserve in our government. And I hope progressives throughout Clark County can put the NV-01 primary behind them and focus on what we all need to be doing this year in electing more and better progressives up and down the ballot to make our dreams into reality.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM-

Via The Hill, we've now learned that Senator Harry Reid is chiming in and doing his part to make peace here.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a kingmaker in Nevada Democratic politics, immediately endorsed Titus, although he called Kihuen a “rising star in Nevada and the Democratic Party” and said he expected great things from him in the near future.

“With Tea Party Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, Nevada’s middle-class families need Dina Titus in their corner fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security, create good paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas and holding Wall Street bankers and Big Oil executives accountable,” Reid said.

Well done, "Abuelito". Well done. And clearly with Ruben out, Dina's more likely to be back in Congress next year. And frankly, I'm sure a whole lot of progressives will be happy to see her back there.

Knowing Dina and knowing where she stands on justice for the 99%, I'm sure she will serve NV-01 well. :-)

7:15 PM-

Dina Titus' campaign just released a statement on this.

“Senator Kihuen is a dedicated public servant who has always put the interests of Nevada first. He ran a strong campaign that inspired young people to work for the good of our state. Now is the time to come together to reelect President Obama and elect Shelley Berkley, John Oceguera, Steven Horsford, and all Democrats running for office. Ruben is a rising star who has a bright career ahead of him fighting for Nevadans. I look forward to working with him to create jobs, advocate for minority interests, and diversify Nevada’s economy.”

Well done, Dina. Thanks. Let's keep it classy, Nevada Democrats.

7:40 PM-

A few minutes ago, The Sun was able to get a comment from Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange on this.

“Sen. Ruben Kihuen is an outstanding public servant with a very bright future in Nevada politics,” state party Chairwoman Roberta Lange said in a statement. “Nevada Democrats are united behind Dina Titus and we look forward to sending her back to Congress to fight for Nevada families.”

The article from Karoun Demirjian also sheds a little more light on why this happened.

Democrats pressured Titus to step aside and declare herself for the swing 3rd District, the one she’d represented before losing by a slim margin to Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

But Titus didn’t accept that tacit determination, opting instead for the safer 1st District seat, where any Democrat who gets elected stands a strong chance of being re-elected for several cycles to come.

But even if the opinion of the party power elite was against Titus, the numbers — polls, fundraising, even age — were against Kihuen.

An early internal poll from the Titus campaign showed the former congresswoman pulling seven times the vote Kihuen could muster districtwide, and about three times as many votes as Kihuen among the Hispanics that were supposed to be his base.

The Titus campaign also more than doubled Kihuen's in 2011 fundraising, a feat they loudly trumpeted last week when numbers were released. As of Dec. 31, Titus had raised $422,000, keeping $327,000 in cash on hand, while Kihuen had only raised $189,000, with about $135,000 cash on hand.

Again, both Dina and Ruben have been strong progressive Democrats. And both had been making a great case for being elected in NV-01. I guess in the end, Ruben decided it wasn't worth it to risk party division over what's essentially a nonexistent ideological divide.

And again, hopefully Ruben will reemerge when future opportunities arise. And I know they will. He's a sharp mind and a bright star who has no reason to shy away any time soon.

And again, Dina is the Nevada Democrats' political phoenix who finds ways to keep rising out of the ashes against all odds. Dina is back. Again. And this time, she'll likely be here to stay.

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