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Dean Heller sworn in as Nevada senator

May 09, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli | Washington Bureau
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty…)

Dean Heller was sworn in as Nevada's new U.S. senator on Monday, taking the seat left vacant by John Ensign after his resignation last week.

Vice President Biden returned to the Capitol to administer the oath to Heller, a Republican who had served in the House representing Nevada's 2nd District since 2007.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval announced April 27 that he was appointing Heller to finish Ensign's term, which runs through January 2013. Ensign's resignation took effect May 3.

Heller already had announced his candidacy in the 2012 Senate election before Ensign decided to step down rather than continue facing an ethics investigation stemming from his affair with a campaign aide. He will now run as the incumbent.

Democratic candidates include 1st District Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Heller's resignation from the House has triggered a Sept. 13 special election for the seat, which encompasses all of the state beyond the greater Las Vegas area. Sharron Angle, who lost the marquee 2010 Senate race against Majority Leader Harry Reid, is among a growing field of candidates in that race.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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