Nevada’s Danny Tarkanian had planned to challenge incumbent Senator Dean Heller in the state’s Republican Senate primary, but will now run for the House after some advice from President Trump.
Trump tweeted that Tarkanian should run for the House, so that Heller can run for the Senate unopposed and Tarkanian swiftly agreed.
Tarkanian ran for that same seat in 2016 and lost to Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen by just one point, but the seat is now open because Rosen is running for Senate. Tarkanian said, “I am confident I would have won the U.S. 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.”
It seems Trump and his team are so hyper-focused on Heller’s race because Clinton won Nevada by just 2 points in 2016 and Democrats will be hell-bent on flipping that seat.
Tarkanian is a vocal supporter of President Trump (Tarkanian’s official Twitter account features a pinned tweet, with a photo of Trump getting sworn in, that says “RT if you’re proud of Making America Great Again!”) and he’s certainly further to the right than Heller. On Twitter, he regularly uses Trump catchphrases like “FAKE NEWS” and “MAGA” while referring to Heller as part of the “Swamp.” In 2016, Tarkanian held an 86% approval rating from the NRA and is staunchly opposed to a woman’s right to choose. Along with Trump, Tarkanian has also received support from former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
Heller will likely face Rosen in the general election for Nevada senator, as Rosen is the leading Democratic candidate.