As expected, with Danny Tarkanian out of the race, incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller advanced to the November general election on Tuesday.
And, also as expected, a well-funded Rep. Jacky Rosen was dramatically ahead in the Democratic primary. Both, in fact, had more than 70 percent of their respective party’s support with 90 percent of the vote totaled.
Both were claiming victory before 9 p.m. and Rosen wasted no time, immediately calling on Heller to join her in a series of debates.
“There’s so much at stake in the race for this Senate seat, and it’s critical for Nevadans — including Latino voters — to hear from the candidates directly and make an informed decision,” said Rosen for Nevada campaign manager Danny Kazin in an email statement. “We’re challenging Sen. Heller to a series of televised debates so that Jacky Rosen can hold him accountable for his broken health care promises and his failed record in Washington before Nevada voters head to the ballot box in November.”
Altogether, there were five Republicans and six Democrats in the race.
Independent American Kamau Bakari, Libertarian Tim Hagan and two candidates listing no political affiliation remain in the race: Ricardo Charles and Barry Michaels.
Tarkanian decided, at the urging of President Trump, to run for the open House of Representatives seat vacated by Rosen instead of challenging Heller. National Republican strategists expressed concern Tarkanian could split the vote badly enough to open the way for Rosen to win, potentially flipping the U.S. Senate to Democratic control.
But in the process, Heller had to move his positions significantly to the right. Asked whether he moved so far right he won’t get enough votes from the middle to win the general, he said that wouldn’t be a problem.
“In 100 senators, I’m one of the top most bipartisan,” Heller said, adding he has successfully tapped into the non-partisan and moderate Democratic voter pool in the past.
“We’ll be able to do it this time too,” he said earlier Tuesday.
Democrats, however, issued a statement criticizing Heller’s rightward shift on key issues including healthcare and women’s healthcare issues including funding for Planned Parenthood as well as immigration.
“The cost of Heller emerging from his divisive primary earlier this year was his ability to win the upcoming general election,” a Democratic spokesman charged.
Heller said one key difference between him and Rosen is, “she couldn’t stop Yucca Mountain in the House.”
The House has voted out a Yucca Mountain bill that contains more funding than even President Trump asked.
Heller said he can prevent the Senate from approving the restart of Yucca Mountain.