Heck’s Decision Prompts Rating Change in Two Nevada Races

by Nathan L. Gonzales July 6, 2015 · 11:00 AM EDT

Republican Rep. Joe Heck’s decision to run for the Senate is no surprise, but now that he is officially in the race, we are changing our rating in two Nevada races. 

The race for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s open seat was already competitive, but Republican chances improve slightly with Heck’s decision. He is a battle-tested incumbent who won’t be easy for Democrats to pigeon-hole as being too conservative for the state. Heck will likely face former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who has been elected statewide twice in races that weren’t particularly difficult. But she should benefit from presidential year turnout next year and Democrats believe the opportunity to elect the first Latina senator will inspire Hispanic voters to come to the polls in larger numbers.

We are changing our rating of the Nevada Senate race from Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic to Pure Toss-Up. Nevada is also the best Republican takeover opportunity in the country considering Colorado Republicans are having trouble getting on the same page with each other, let alone being able to find a top-tier Senate candidate. You can read our baseline analysis of Nevada in the May 15 issue of the Report

While Heck’s decision is great news for the NRSC, his open 3rd District seat is likely to be a headache for the National Republican Congressional Committee to hold. It remains to be seen how the candidate fields will develop, including the possibility that one or more Democrats switch from the crowded 4th District race. But President Barack Obama won the district twice and the seat is likely to be very competitive. 

We are changing our rating of Nevada’s 3rd District from Republican Favored to Pure Toss-Up. You can read our baseline analysis of Nevada’s House races in the May 15 issue of the Report