Tarkanian Bails to Pave the Road for Dean Heller Re-election

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On the last day for any Nevada resident to file to run for office, Danny Tarkanian switches races to pave the road for Senator Dean Heller’s re-election bid. Heller has been described as the most vulnerable Republican Senator and was facing stiff opposition from Nevada Republicans, including his base.

In an unexpected turn of events, President Donald Trump tweeted that “It would be great for the Republican Party of Nevada, and it’s unity if good guy Danny Tarkanian would run for Congress and Dean Heller, who is doing a really good job, could run for Senate unopposed!”
Tarkanian had revealed that he would challenge Senator Heller months ago and has been actively campaigning around the state. His announcement came early and out of respect; others stepped aside to support Tarkanian as the one to go against Heller.

Three day’s ago on Twitter, Megan Messerly revealed that Tarkanian’s name was being poll-tested in CD3. The tweet also said Tarkanian denied any knowledge of the poll and claimed he would be filing to run for the Senate later in the week.

Entertaining the idea of defeating Heller may be why many Republicans within the state jumped on Tarkanian’s bandwagon. Tark, as he is known by, has name recognition in the silver state, mainly because he has run for office several times.

In a written statement Tarkanian stated, “I am confident I would have won the US Senate race and done a great job representing the people of Nevada in the Senate, but the President is adamant that a unified Republican ticket in Nevada is the best direction for the America First movement. With President Trump’s full support and endorsement, I am filing to run again in CD3 with the firm belief that we will finish what we started in 2016 and win in 2018.”
The unpopular Senator Heller will now run unopposed, and Tarkanian will run for Congress, the same seat he previously attempted to win in 2016.

The move by Tarkanian to switch races will most likely broaden the divide in the Republican Party rank and file who have been campaigning for months for their favorite candidate in Nevada’s crowded Congressional District 3 race. With the addition of Tarkanian to the CD3 race, splits among devoted volunteers, donors, and party insiders is a sure bet. If president Trump is going for unity, he may just have ensured the exact opposite.

Plus Trump’s endorsement of Dean Heller may surprise Nevada Republicans because Heller was a #NeverTrumper and spoke against the now president openly both in the primary and the general presidential elections. In fact, Heller distanced himself from Trump in the general which may have helped Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada.

Odd that the President would join with what some believe to be the DC swamp to rescue establishment Dean Heller. The president’s famous campaign theme of draining the swamp seems to lack any seriousness when it comes to Nevada. One could argue that the Presidents move is an attempt to have a better shot at keeping the majority in the US Senate. However, others point out and ask what good is a majority when team members, such as Dean Heller, do not support the America First agenda?

The possibility that, because now unopposed, Dean Heller will win reelection and Danny Tarkanian will lose again is real.

By Laurel Fee

Image Courtesy of Dean Heller’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License