WASHINGTON – Democrat Shelley Berkley had hoped a victory by President Obama would carry her to the Senate, but Nevadans split their tickets and returned Republican Sen. Dean Heller to the chamber Tuesday.
The battleground state for the presidency prompted a similarly competitive Senate race. Berkley, a seven-term congresswoman, kept pace in her challenge to Heller, who maintained a steady lead in the polls. Heller pulled through with all precincts reporting, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Heller has long been a popular figure in Nevada politics. He had served as secretary of state and in the House before his 2011 appointment to the Senate. The Republican governor had to fill the seat after the resignation of Republican Sen. John Ensign, who stepped down during an investigation into a sex and lobbying scandal.
But this time Heller was up against the state’s Democratic machine, orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which has proved relentless in getting Democratic voters to the polls. Obama carried the state.