Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller has decided he would rather seek re-election in the Senate in 2018 than run for governor. Heller announced his choice in a statement in a Facebook post, saying he believed he could have the biggest impact for Nevada if he ran for re-election as Nevada’s senior senator:
My family and I have put much thought and prayer in considering the best way to serve the state that we love. I believe serving and running for re-election as Nevada’s senior Senator is where I can do the most good and have the biggest impact for Nevada.
Serving as governor would be an enormous honor, but I am looking forward to being Nevada’s strongest voice on Capitol Hill.
Heller has held the seat since 2011, when he was appointed to finish the term of Republican Sen. John Ensign after Ensign resigned. The Senator narrowly defeated Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley for the seat in 2012. Heller is one of just eight GOP senators up for reelection in 2018, and the only one running in a state Hillary Clinton carried.
With Heller out of the gubernatorial race, and Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval term-limited folks are speculating who might run to replace Gov. Sandoval.
According to the Associated Press, potential Republican candidates include Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison. As for the Democrats, there is Steve Sisolak, a Clark County commissioner with a $2 million war chest, who considered the governor’s race in 2014 but didn’t run.