WASHINGTON – Nevada and North Dakota voters today will cast primary ballots in Senate contests that set the stage for two of the year’s most competitive races.
Nevada: Sen. Dean Heller (R) does not appear to have any serious challengers nor does his likely Democratic opponent Rep. Jacky Rosen.
Recent polls show Heller and Rosen neck-in-neck.
Heller is considered a moderate Republican. He has supported most of the Trump administration’s key policies but has been careful not to alienate Democratic and independent voters.
Nevada is a swing-state that has leaned Democratic in the past decade. Hillary Clinton won the state by two points in 2016. Barack Obama carried Nevada twice by comfortable margins. The state’s governor, Brian Sandoval, is a Republican.
North Dakota: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) does not appear to have any serious challengers nor does her likely Republican opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer.
Recent polls show Heitkamp facing an uphill re-election battle.
Heitkamp is a considered a moderate Democrat. She broke party ranks to support the nominations of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has come under fire for questionable ethics practices.
North Dakota is reliably Republican. President Donald Trump carried the state by almost 36 points in 2016.
Former North Dakota Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan told TMN in March that despite the long odds he believes Heitkamp will be re-elected.
“The Senate race will be competitive, but I think Heidi Heitkamp is going to win the race,” Dorgan said. “The people in North Dakota know, like and trust her. That is very important in a state like North Dakota. It is retail politics.”
The Senate is comprised of 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and two independent members who usually vote with the Democrats.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is battling brain cancer and has been absent since December.
Twenty-six Democrats are up for re-election, compared with nine Republicans.