The tight race between Republican Rep. Joe Heck and former Nevada Attorney General Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto for Harry Reid’s Senate seat has been narrowly lead by Heck for months. But since three-term congressman withdrew his support for Trump after the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video surfaced three weeks ago Heck’s chances of winning the Senate seat have been slipping.
According to The Hill, Heck’s withdrawal set off a backlash against Heck from Trump supporters:
“Nevada is really close, so anything that alienates any part of your base in a close election is not ideal, especially in such a polarized state like Nevada,” said a Republican strategist who has consulted for races in Nevada and not involved in Heck’s campaign. “I think [Heck’s] got a serious problem.”
Heck has privately acknowledged he’s in a “very difficult situation” for no longer supporting his party’s nominee. It could cost him critical parts of his base. In audio obtained this week by CNN of a private Las Vegas fundraiser, Heck explained that he “really” wants to support Trump, but openly lamented that Trump could hurt turnout, which could in turn spill over into down-ballot races.
The Democrats have been all over Heck’s withdrawal of support for Trump calling his decision purely political move. But Heck’s campaign is hopeful that even those frustrated with his decision to withdraw his Support of Trump understand the importance of a Senate majority.
Nevada is Republicans’ only real pickup opportunity this cycle, and it has become one of the key contests in an election that some Republicans now think the GOP will lose control of the Senate.
The real Clear Politics average for Nevada Senate – Heck vs. Cortez Masto race now has Cortez Masto ahead by 2.3 points.
The most recent Nevada Senate poll released earlier this week by Monmouth University shows Heck with a 3-point lead which is within the poll’s margin of error. More important, the poll doesn’t show signs of loyal Trump supporters abandoning Heck, but rather found 88 percent of “firm” Trump supporters backing Heck.