Does he sit tight in his present position or run against Senator Harry Reid or run for Governor of Nevada or wait and run against Senator John Ensign?
Still no announcement of a Republican willing to tackle Senator Harry Reid for his Senate seat. Reid has low poll numbers and a target on his back. He is recognized as vulnerable. Yet the Republican Party cannot find a viable candidate to challenge Reid. The national Republican leadership would like nothing more than to boot Senator Reid out of office.
Republican Congressman Heller has been wined and dined by the Republican elite to take on the job. However, Heller has not taken the bait.
Then there sits Republican Governor Jim Gibbons a much weaker and fatter target than Reid. His fellow Republicans would like to get rid of Gibbons so Heller would not risk much running for Governor. At least in the primary.
The fall from grace by Senator John Ensign has not helped matters. The following week’s escapade by South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford poured more salt into the Republican wounds. But Ensign’s office doesn’t open up until 2012. A lot can happen before then.
The Playing Field
The political playing field keeps shifting. His base is eroding away. Between April 1 and May 31, a total of 4,306 voters registered in Nevada. Of those new voters, only 148 registered as Republicans; 2,065 as Democrats; the remainder in other minor parties. The Democrats hold a 100,000-voter advantage. But, on the other hand, the rurals of Nevada comprising much of his Congressional District #2 are still quite red with conservatism.
On top of it all is a group called “Republicans for Reid,” with some Republican heavyweights in membership, including Sig Rogich and Dawn Gibbons. And this group has money and considerable political influence. Republican voters seem to be flying the coop.
Heller must note that the exodus of his Republican base. The scarlet letter “R” is tarnished. He must be thinking now is not the time for him to risk his House Ways and Means Committee seat in the House of Representatives and strike out against Reid. Like Ensign, Heller has a chummy relationship with Reid. Additionally, Reid has all that campaign money to run on.
Even Chuck Muth throws cold water on the idea, blaming Senator Ensign for costing the Republican Party of “any chance of anyone getting elected to replace Harry Reid.” Muth recognizes “They’re (Republicans) in a world of hurt and trouble.”
The timing is not right for Heller to make a bold run against anyone. The Republican Party has regressed from their beloved Ronald Reagan days. They have now become Herbert Hoover Republicans. Heller is still a lightweight, short on experience. The country is in the throes of historic change and evolution. A contest between “two philosophies of government,” as Hoover described it.Â Heller, like Hoover, believes in small government and letting the free market operate. He is on the wrong side of history. As a senator from Nevada he cannot hope to match or supersede Senator Reid’s contributions to Nevada. He may have a better chance to exceed Governor Gibbons’ contribution, but doubtful.
His best chance to rise higher in the Republican Party is to remain patient and see how it looks when Senator Ensign is up for re-election.