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VICTOR JOECKS: He doesn’t have a current website. He may end up in Congress anyway.

Updated May 19, 2022 - 12:07 pm

Can you win a contested election for a major office without an updated website? Cresent Hardy is about to find out.

The Republican primary for Nevada’s 1st Congressional District is a muddled mess. Over the past decade, that wouldn’t have mattered. The district, formerly comprised of the Las Vegas urban core, gave Democrats a more than 25-point advantage in voter registration. Rep. Dina Titus repeatedly cruised to victory.

That changed during redistricting. Legislative Democrats redistributed many of those Democrats to shore up CD3 and CD4. Titus’s district now also includes Henderson and Boulder City. As of April, Democrats have a 10.6-point advantage in voter registration in CD1.

In a normal year, that’s plenty. This isn’t a normal year, and Titus knows it.

That means the winner of the Republican primary has a chance. But good luck figuring out the front-runner. The candidate with the most name ID is probably Hardy, who once served in Congress. In 2014, he rode the Republican wave to a win in CD4.

The “Hardy” name should help. State Sen. Joe Hardy’s district included Boulder City and part of Henderson. Assemblywoman Melissa Hardy represents a Henderson district. Judge Joe Hardy Jr. won a countywide race in 2020.

But Cresent Hardy is doing little to get his own name out there. The latest post on his “Cresent Hardy for Congress” website appears to be from 2017. He declined to talk to a Review-Journal reporter doing a piece on the race.

Even though Titus is vulnerable, Republicans should be concerned about someone who’s campaign strategy appears nonexistent.

Three other GOP candidates, Carolina Serrano, Mark Robertson and David Brog, have raised significant funds. Each had around $260,000 cash on hand as of their March 31 fundraising reports.

Serrano, a Colombian American, would be a good fit for the district, which is 36 percent Latino. In her intro video, she lays out her conservative priorities, such as “build the wall,” in Spanish. She led “Latinos for Trump” in Nevada, too.

But last year, she tweeted that the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be repealed. That will be a general election liability. In a statement, she said she agrees with the original goals of the legislation, such as ending segregation. Over time, she said, it morphed into a federal power grab pushing “social re-engineering” that “traded one form of racism or prejudice for another.”

Robertson is a veteran and business owner. He’s raised the most money as of March, but Hardy’s unexpected entrance into the race probably hurts him the most.

Brog has led national conservative organizations, including pro-Israel groups. Perhaps he can leverage his connections for some higher-profile endorsements. He started running TV ads, which should boost his name ID. He’d probably be the prohibitive favorite if he’d started running sooner.

Given the national political environment, whoever makes it through the primary has a chance to win the general. Even the guy without an updated website. But Titus looks like the Nevada Democrat most likely to retain her House seat.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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