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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 | 8:23 a.m.
Barely more than a week after Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval breezed to re-election, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller is recruiting him to run against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in two years.
“We’ll see what he wants to do,” Heller, R-Nev., said this morning on Capitol Hill as Congress returned to session for the first time since the Nov. 4 midterms that gave Republicans a majority in the U.S. Senate.
“I think he’ll want to assess, and we’ll give him a little time to do that,” Heller said.
Asked today about the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate, Sandoval said he was committed to serving out his term and that he wants to focus on his goals for Nevada.
Heller said there are other people in the state trying to convince Sandoval, Nevada’s popular Republican governor who won re-election last week with more than 70 percent of the vote, to challenge Reid, the Senate’s top Democrat.
If Sandoval decides to stay in Nevada, Heller said, the GOP has a deep bench of other potential candidates: U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei and Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Hutchison.
“There are plenty of people I’m sure could play in that race,” Heller said.
Heller’s comments came as he attempts to position himself as the Senate Republicans’ campaign leader for 2016. If his colleagues vote him to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Heller would be in charge of fundraising and recruiting candidates.
The role would pit him directly against Reid, who has said he will run for a sixth term in 2016. Republicans are making unseating the 74-year-old Nevada Democrat their top priority.
“We have an opportunity to expand this majority, and we should be thinking of it that way,” Heller said.
Las Vegas Sun reporter Cy Ryan contributed to this report.