Months of wooing by the Republican party have gone for naught — Nevada Rep. Dean Heller on Tuesday told the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, John Cornyn of Texas, that he will not challenge Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in 2010, a Republican official confirmed.
Heller was Republicans’ top hope for the race, but local observers were doubtful he would actually choose to run, given his relatively comfortable seat in the House and the uphill battle of taking on the amply-funded majority leader.
“Harry Reid is a powerful and mean campaigner, and I say that with respect,” said Erik Herzik, chair of the University of Nevada-Reno’s political science department.
Heller’s fundraising also indicated that he was not preparing for what would have been an expensive Senate campaign — he raised $166,000 in the second quarter and had $255,000 in the bank at the end of June. Reid, in comparison, closed out June with more than $7 million in cash on hand.