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Dean Heller launches bid for Nevada governor, attempts political comeback 3 years after Senate defeat | News from Carson City, Nevada

Former Republican Senator Dean Heller formally launched a gubernatorial bid on Monday, attempting to re-enter the political sphere in which he resided for decades before being defeated in a 2018 re-election bid that found it difficult to navigate a strained relationship with the times. President Donald Trump.

At a launch event in a cramped, low-slung building in the town he grew up in, Carson City, he defended firmly conservative positions on abortion and suggested that a senior Clark County election official would have had to be revoked for his decisions in the 2020 elections. Heller said he was okay with ending politics after his loss three years ago, but was inspired to return to the fray.

“Something has happened, something has changed. It was called 2020. 2020 has arrived, bad politicians started making bad decisions, ”he said. “And I said to my family, ‘Enough is enough. We have to do something about it. So we’re here today because I think it’s time to fire Steve Sisolak.

His debut raises the ante in a race seen as a referendum on the handling of the pandemic by Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak. Heller has already focused the lightning rod issue of COVID mitigation measures in his campaign, posting a video over the weekend, denouncing business closures and the rules that caused her grandchildren to play football in masks.

In his announcement speech, he criticized Sisolak for putting Nevada “at the top of all the bad lists in America”, including unemployment rates, crime rates, graduation rates and graduation rates. suicide, adding that “under this governor, families are crushed”.

Without directly saying that the 2020 election was invalid (he said, “I know who the President of the United States is, we’re not discussing it. What I’m saying is the process and how we got there) , Heller criticized recent election legislation. and said “we made cheating easier in future elections”. He vowed that if he were elected governor, “you are not going to wonder if the elections are fair” and that his first order of business would be to enact voter identification by decree.

“After the 2020 election, most Republicans think President Trump won this election. It’s chaos and that chaos goes on and on, ”Heller said.

He noted that as Secretary of State he struck off a registrar who he said was doing a bad job, and suggested he did the same with Clark County Registrar of Electors Joe Gloria. , accusing Gloria of saying “I’m going to operate our machines” accepting a high number of signatures on the ballots as valid.

“I would have been tempted to do that, yes. I would have asked the county commissioners to remove this guy, ”Heller said.

He said he would not make the COVID vaccine mandatory, but noted that he himself was vaccinated and said: “I will stress and convey to my Nevada countrymen that I think it is Very important”.

When asked if he would support a law like Texas that allows citizens to sue people who facilitate an abortion after six weeks gestation, Heller replied, “I like what Texas has done. “. Polls consistently show that Nevadans support abortion rights with significant margins, and voters in 1990 reaffirmed the legality of abortion up to 24 weeks gestation.

“As governor, I will get the most conservative abortion laws we can have in this state, no matter who controls the legislature at the time,” he said.

Heller’s campaign material cultivates an image of rural masculinity, with the video showing him running around in a stock car, touting his skills as a welder and hoisting hay bales on his farm. One narrator describes him as “nice” and with “a smile that never stops”, but also “hard as nails”, and ends with the words “He’s a governor”.

But to have that title, he will first have to triumph in a crowded primary, and without the team of campaign consultants that guided his previous campaigns – this company, November Inc., was drafted by the Clark County Sheriff. Joe Lombardo, who is also trying to chart a more traditional Republican path throughout the race. Heller’s video subtly targeted Lombardo’s complicated gun stance, featuring the former senator firing at target.

Other contest entrants include Joey Gilbert, a hot lawyer and former boxer whose face and fists greet motorists from billboards along Reno’s freeways and at the airport. He was in Washington DC on the day of the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill, challenged the validity of the election, and attempted to persuade rural county commissions to detain him to sue the governor for the ongoing state of emergency.

Heller, for his part, told reporters about the January 6 incidents that he had no problem with the people protesting, “but they crossed the line when they broke into this Capitol and did what they did… don’t put me in that category for being in favor of what happened that day.

Heller, 61, began his political career in 1990 as a member of the State Assembly, then served three terms as Secretary of State and two terms in Congress before being appointed to the United States Senate. in 2011 after the then senator. John Ensign has resigned.

He marked moderate good faith in increasingly purple Nevada in 2013, when he supported an immigration reform bill and voted in 2015 not to prosecute a bill to undo the DACA program, which gives legal status to people brought into the country illegally as children.

But he stumbled while navigating the Donald Trump era and didn’t admit voting for him until nine months after the 2016 election. Two years later, he appeared alongside Trump at a campaign event to Elko and told the president “I think everything you touch turns to gold”.

He also struggled to navigate the health care issue, voting for a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, but also holding a press conference with the then governor. Brian Sandoval in 2017 saying he couldn’t support a bill that would deprive tens of millions of Americans of insurance.

Following a 2018 campaign in which he was mocked for his fluid political positions, he lost to Democratic political newcomer Jacky Rosen by a five percentage point margin.

This story is used with permission from The Nevada Independent. Go here for updates to this story and more.

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