Rosen Ousts Heller In Key Nevada Senate Race

(Bloomberg) -- Nevada Democrat Jacky Rosen defeated U.S. Senator Dean Heller, who had been viewed as the chamber’s most endangered GOP incumbent after Hillary Clinton carried the state by 2 percentage points in 2016.

Heller conceded defeat to Rosen, the Associated Press reported.

Rosen, a first-term U.S. representative from a GOP-leaning district, has voted with Republicans on some issues including cutting business regulations, but in her Senate campaign she embraced a traditional Democratic agenda and ripped into President Donald Trump.

Heller’s defeat is a blow for Trump, who traveled to the state to help shore up the senator’s candidacy. Trump even intervened in Nevada’s GOP primary, persuading potential challenger Danny Tarkanian, a perennial and unsuccessful candidate for Nevada elective office, to drop plans to challenge Heller and run for a House seat instead.

While the race had been considered a toss-up, Heller, who has been in office since 2011, was leading in some recent polls and Republicans had grown more confident that he would emerge the victor.

Heller tied himself closely to Trump after refusing to endorse him during the 2016 presidential campaign. He voted in favor of the unsuccessful Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, for last year’s GOP tax cuts and for most of Trump’s nominees, including Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

In her campaign, Rosen promised to fight for stricter gun laws, extend Obamacare, protect young undocumented immigrants and to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Her victory over Heller means Nevada will have two Democratic senators for the first time since 2001. She joins fellow Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who won her own heavily contested election just two years ago.

Rosen’s victory suggests potential for further Democratic inroads in 2020. While Nevada for years was a Democratic stronghold, Republicans had made strong gains in 2014, taking control of the statehouse and winning every statewide office. Two years later, Democrats won back both chambers of the state legislature.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.