Heck Decision Prompts Rating Changes in 2 Nevada Races

Republican chances to win Nevada's Senate seat improve slightly with Heck in the race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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 pigeonhole 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 go to the polls in larger numbers.  

We are changing the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating of the Nevada Senate race from Tossup/Tilts Democratic to Pure Tossup . 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 Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.  

While Heck’s decision is great news for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, 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 the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating of Nevada’s 3rd District from Republican Favored to Pure Tossup . You can read our baseline analysis of Nevada’s House races in the May 15 issue of the Report .  

Related: Joe Heck to Run for Nevada Senate Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report: Republicans Hope for Heck of a Race ($) Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report: Nevada Republicans on the Defensive ($) Top Races to Watch in 2016: The West Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.