Dean Heller sworn in as Nevada’s new GOP senator |

Dean Heller sworn in as Nevada’s new GOP senator

Associated Press
From left, Harrison Heller, Andrew Heller, Hilary Heller, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Lynne Heller, Vice President Joe Biden, Emily Ableser, and Edward Ableser, pose for a photographer in the Old Senate Chambers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011, after a mock swearing in ceremony for Heller. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nevada’s new U.S. senator, Dean Heller, was sworn in Monday to replace the embattled John Ensign, who resigned amid a Senate Ethics Committee investigation stemming from an extramarital affair he had with a campaign aide.

Heller, 50, was serving his third term in the House when Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval selected him to serve out the remainder of Ensign’s term.

Heller was escorted to the front of the Senate chamber by Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose right arm was in a sling and left eye was blackened from a fall suffered last week. Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath as Heller’s wife, Lynne, and their four children and son-in-law watched from the gallery.

“As Dean transitions from representing a single district to the entire state, I look forward to working with him to make the tough choices that will help our state and our citizens recover,” said Reid, Nevada’s other senator and a Democrat.

The transition does little to change the political dynamic in the Senate, as Heller and Ensign shared similar views on most issues.

Heller was already the favorite to win next year’s GOP primary election for Ensign’s seat when Sandoval made the appointment. On the Democratic side, Rep. Shelley Berkley has said she will run for the seat.