The New York Times has a piece out that’s worth a read about how U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s (R. NV) sick evolution from a “Never Trump” Republican to bearhugging him to help save his re-election bid. The piece details how pathetic Heller has been sucking up to Trump:
The New York Times listened in on the call, which also included the White House political director, Bill Stepien; the Nevada attorney general, Adam Laxalt, the Republican nominee for governor; and Danny Tarkanian, who is running for an open Nevada House seat.
It is Mr. Tarkanian’s House candidacy that partly explains Mr. Heller’s newfound admiration for the president. Mr. Tarkanian, a son of the legendary former University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach, was challenging Mr. Heller in this year’s Republican Senate primary until Mr. Trump intervened. The president persuaded Mr. Tarkanian to drop out of the Senate primary and instead run for the House.
But in warming to the president, Mr. Heller is not just returning a favor to Mr. Trump for clearing his primary field: The senator is also wagering that he cannot win in a midterm election without galvanizing his state’s Republican base. Grass-roots Nevada Republicans are enthusiastic backers of Mr. Trump, and the president’s endorsement has helped several Republican candidates prevail in competitive primaries this year.
In his last trip to Nevada, at the state Republican convention in June, the president joked about Mr. Heller’s initial distance, saying he had been a “little bit shaky at the beginning” but had become “rock solid.”
The senator, though, was far less effusive at the time than he was on Wednesday’s call. He spoke only briefly before Mr. Trump and claimed he had written the tax overhaul — and was happy “this president signed it.”
Mr. Stepien helped offer balm to whatever raw feelings there may still be between Nevada Republican activists and Mr. Heller, heaping praise on the senator for supporting Mr. Trump’s agenda and scorning Ms. Rosen for being “part of the obstruction.”
Why is Heller beating big on Trump helping him out in his re-election bid against Rep. Jacky Rosen (D. NV)? Because he doesn’t want to make the same mistake Rep. Joe Heck (R. NV) in the last U.S. Senate race:
Complicating the electoral math for Mr. Heller will be an unusual feature of Nevada elections: Voters have the option of casting a ballot for “none of these candidates” — a wild card that could tip the race in Ms. Rosen’s favor. In 2016, Representative Joe Heck, a Republican who like Mr. Heller was openly critical of Mr. Trump, lost a Senate race to a Democrat, Catherine Cortez Masto, by fewer than three percentage points. Nearly 4 percent of voters cast their ballots for no one.
“The people in Nevada who are solid Trump supporters aren’t buying into this idea that now he’s suddenly becoming a Trump supporter,” said Chuck Muth, a conservative blogger here. “They’ve become Never Hellers. And there’s going to be a lot of Trump supporters who will not vote for Dean Heller. They’ll vote for none of the above.”
That said, Republicans are desperate to keep their seat in Nevada. Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative talk show host who has been one of Mr. Heller’s staunchest critics, now says he is “all in” for the senator.
“He’s come a long way,” Mr. Root said. “Is it a miraculous religious conversion or is it just convenience to get elected again? I’m a skeptical guy. We’ll see after the election.”
It’s time to make Heller pay big time for being a Trump foot soldier. Click below to donate and get involved with Rosen and her fellow Nevada Democrats’ campaigns:
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