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Early Money on Heller for Senate Appointment

Fox is hearing from a variety of sources that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is likely to appoint Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to fufill the rest of the term of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) both recently just jumped into the Senate contest.

It is thought that Sandoval would appoint Heller to give him a leg up on Berkley in the 2012 Senate election.

There aren't many "caretaker" possibilities available on the Republican side of the aisle. Former Gov. Kenny Guinn (R) died earlier this year. Former Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) is toxic. The only plausible caretaker would be former Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) who lost in 2008 to former Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and now spends most of his time in Washington lobbying.

Here's one note about a potential Heller appointment: If the governor does tap Heller, the Republican party process will choose who they nominate for the special election to Heller's House seat where failed senatorial candidate Sharon Angle (R) is running.

It's possible Angle could then petition to be the independent candidate.

Heller's district is the largest and most rural in Nevada and is the part of the state where the tea party has the best support.