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Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) announced today that he will appoint U.S. Rep. Dean Heller (R) to fill out the rest of U.S. Senator John Ensign’s term, the National Journal reports.Ensign resigned last week amid an ethics investigation into how he handled an affair with a former political aide whose husband was also on Ensign’s staff.
Heller will now have the advantage of incumbency in Nevada’s already spirited Senate race. The former Nevada Secretary of State will face off against U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, a popular moderate from Las Vegas. Heller’s votes in the Senate will be watched closely, which likely means he will continue his recent shift to the right to stave off a Tea Party challenge in the GOP primaries.
Check back tomorrow to see our forecasts for the hottest Senate races of 2012.