BREAKING: Dean Heller Appointed to Ensign's Senate Seat

Posted: Apr 27, 2011 4:08 PM
Nevada's newly-elected Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, has appointed Congressman Dean Heller to serve out the remainder of Sen. John Ensign's term.  Ensign resigned last week.  This move doesn't shift the partisan breakdown of the Senate, but it does lend another advantage to Heller's 2012 Senate campaign: Incumbency.  Heller was already slightly favored to win the seat:

The appointment was anticipated and sets up a political scramble on how Heller’s House seat will be filled. State law says a special election must be held within 180 days of a vacancy.

Ensign has been dogged by an ethics investigation and announced last week he was resigning effective May 3.

Heller last month said he would run for Ensign’s seat in 2012, and Sandoval quickly endorsed him.

In a statement, Sandoval said Heller “is an experienced representative who is ready for the responsibilities of this office, and who will work hard, not just for Nevada, but for the entire nation.”

A special election will be held to replace Heller in the House of Representatives within 180 days.  Among the candidates vying for Heller's vacated seat in NV-02?  A blast from the not-so-distant past: