Republican Senator Dean Heller kicked off the new year just like he’s spent the past few months: doubling down on his newfound love affair with President Donald Trump. In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Heller touted his “much closer relationship” with Trump as he tries to avoid losing to his Trump-inspired GOP primary challenger, Danny Tarkanian. Like everything Heller has done this cycle, the embrace of Trump reeks of sad, desperate political maneuvering.
To help us recap Heller’s total reversal on Trump, here’s a timeline:
Dec. 2015: Heller: “Let’s be clear, I do not support Trump.”
July 2015: Heller: “I’ve already taken my campaign contributions from Trump that he has given me and already given it to nonprofit organizations. So, that’s how strongly I feel that his comments were wrong.”
May 2016: Heller: “I vehemently oppose our nominee.”
Oct. 2016: Heller says he’s 99 percent certain he won’t vote for Trump.
Dec. 2016: Heller refuses to say who he voted for in the 2016 presidential election.
Aug. 8, 2017: Tarkanian announces he’s challenging Heller in the Republican primary.
Aug. 14, 2017: Nine months after the 2016 election, Heller finally admits he actually did vote for Trump.
Oct. 27, 2017: Poll shows Heller losing to Tarkanian.
Dec. 30, 2017: Heller says he and Trump now know each other better and have a “much closer relationship.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal: After opposing Trump in 2016, Heller feeling closer to president
WASHINGTON — Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., readily admits he “wasn’t one of the biggest supporters” of President Donald Trump during the 2016 election. “I didn’t know him. He didn’t know me.”
But now that the two know each other better, Heller told the Review-Journal, they have a “much closer relationship.”
Perhaps no other candidate running for re-election in 2018 has more to win and more to lose because Trump is in the White House. Heller vehemently opposed Trump in 2016 and is the only GOP senator running for re-election in 2018 in a state won by Hillary Clinton.
Now Heller, who revealed in August that he voted for Trump, is running for re-election in a year when the president’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has declared war on GOP incumbents and criticized Heller by name.
Perennial GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian is challenging Heller in the June primary. Rep. Jacky Rosen, a first-term Democrat, will challenge the winner in November.
Heller is “scared to death of losing that primary,” Nevada Democratic Party Communications Director Stewart Boss said. He pointed to Heller’s opposition to early Republican bills to remake Obamacare but eventual vote in favor of the “skinny” Obamacare repeal that failed.