Saying he was specifically asked to change his plans by President Trump, Republican Danny Tarkanian on Friday announced he will run for the open Congressional District 3 seat instead of challenging Dean Heller in the U.S. Senate race.
“I am confident we 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,”
He pointed out he came close to winning that Clark County district in 2016, losing to Jacky Rosen by a percentage point. Tarkanian filed on Friday to run in that race which already has eight contenders including State Senator Scott Hammond and former Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, both Republicans.
Tarkanian’s shift is a benefit for incumbent Heller since it will make his primary run much easier and less costly.
But it will make Democratic frontrunner Jacky Rosen’s challenge of Heller in the general election more difficult without the benefit of any damage Tarkanian could do to Heller’s candidacy. Tarkanian, however, has already caused some damage to Heller, railing against what he says is his shifting stances on positions, particularly those of the Trump administration.
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted it would be nice if Tarkanian would run for Congress and didn’t oppose Heller who’s “doing a really good job.”
In a statement Friday, Heller said he appreciated Trump’s support and kind words and said he’s focused on winning his re-election. His statement did not mention Tarkanian.
Also on Friday, Heller announced on his website details on Vice President Mike Pence coming to Las Vegas to campaign for him. The event will be a luncheon on April 13 with the cost $10,000 for a photo reception and $1,000 per person for lunch. The website states the location will be given to those who RSVP.