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Heller Not Worried About Primary Challenger

Comes after Jeff Flake’s announcement he would not run for re-election

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., faces a right-wing primary challenger in Danny Tarkanian. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., faces a right-wing primary challenger in Danny Tarkanian. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announcing he would not run for re-election, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is not concerned about his own Republican primary challenger.

Heller faces a Republican primary challenge from perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian, the son of University of Nevada Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Still, Heller isn’t concerned.

“I don’t pay much attention to that,” Heller said. “The only thing I pay attention to right now is tax relief and that takes up about 24 hours of my time a day.”

Heller’s comments come the day after Flake announced he would not seek re-election. Flake, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, was facing a primary challenge from former state Sen. Kelli Ward.

Tarkanian has criticized Heller for being insufficiently supportive of the President.

“I think it’s shift the focus nationally from Arizona to Nevada now with Heller being the only incumbent up for re-election and I believe the only Never-Trumper,” he said. 

The Senate Leadership Fund, which is aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, criticized Tarkanian for being backed by former White House strategist and Breitbart News head Steve Bannon.

Tarkanian met with Bannon last month and said he had Bannon’s backing.

“He already told he’d support me 100 percent,” Tarkanian said.

Heller also faces a Democratic challenger as Rep. Jacky Rosen, who beat Tarkanian last year, already announced her candidacy to challenge Heller.

Tarkanian is optimistic about his chances to challenge Heller, criticizing Heller for his stances on the repeal of the 2010 health care law, among other policies.

Dean Heller’s very weak here. That’s not going to change with what happened to Flake,” he said.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Nevada’s Senate race a Tossup.

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