Sen. Dean Heller on Friday signaled that friction with President Trump and his allies wouldn't chase him out Congress, as the Nevada Republican unveiled his first advertisement of the 2018 campaign.
In contrast to Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, who chose retirement over another term, Heller has been committed to fighting through tough primary and general election campaigns to win his second full term. That bid is set to begin in earnest on Monday with a sustained statewide television and targeted digital advertising that highlights his support for tax reform and Trump's judicial nominees.
"I demanded Senate leadership keep the Senate in session, 24/7, until we fill every judicial vacancy with a conservative judge who will follow the Constitution and pass real tax reform," Heller says, in the spot, speaking straight to camera.
In the June Republican primary, Heller is running against Danny Tarkanian, a five-time loser for office but who this time has the backing of Steve Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist. Bannon is raising resources to support primary challengers against GOP incumbents, and Heller is high on the Breitbart News chairman's target list. Some polls have shown Heller trailing Tarkanian.
If Heller wins re-nomination, he'll face a competitive general election bid in an ethnically diverse state that chose Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. Freshman Rep. Jacky Rosen is the likely Democratic nominee.
Heller is no stranger to tough races. He won his first full Senate term in 2012, even as then-President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney in Nevada by 7 percentage points.