Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said Friday he will announce a Senate appointment before May 3, when scandal-plagued Sen. John Ensign’s (R) resignation becomes official.
“Pursuant to the relevant law I expect to announce an appointment before the resignation effective date of May 3. I take very seriously the importance of this appointment, so to speculate on potential candidates for appointment before then would be premature,” Sandoval said in a statement.
Most of the political world assumes his choice will be Rep. Dean Heller (R), who is already running for the Senate seat in next year’s election. If appointed, the three-term Congressman would instead be running as a sitting Senator.
There have been eight Senate appointments in the state’s history, but Heller’s appointment would put in motion the state’s first special election for a House seat. The secretary of state’s office and both major parties in the state are working to figure out what the election process would be if that is the case.
Sandoval must call for a special election within seven days of a vacancy, and that election must be held within 180 days. Beyond that, however, it is unclear in the vague statute whether an all-party election with unlimited candidates is held or if the state parties choose their nominees.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.