By Sean Lengell - The Washington Times
Rep. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, is jumping to the Senate, as Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday named him to replace the retiring Sen. John Ensign, a move that had been widely anticipated.
The appointment is expected to help the GOP hang on to the Senate seat by giving Mr. Heller a leg up on any Democratic challengers next year.
Mr. Heller announced his candidacy last month for Mr. Ensign’s seat after the two-term Republican senator said he wasn’t running for re-election in 2012.
But when Mr. Ensign announced last week that he would step down, effective next Tuesday, because of an ongoing ethics investigation, Mr. Sandoval was tasked with picking a replacement to serve the senator’s remaining 20 months in office.
The governor said he chose Mr. Heller, a House member since 2007, because “the people of Nevada deserve a new senator who can begin work immediately.”
“Too many important issues face our state and our nation to name a caretaker to this important position,” Mr. Sandoval said. “Nevada needs an experienced voice in Washington.”
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