Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Governor names Rep. Heller to fill out Ensign’s term

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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