GOP Rep. Joe Heck, a one-star general, announced Monday he’s ready to run for the Senate seat soon to be left vacant by retiring Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid in 2016.
Heck’s decision marks a dramatic shift from his original intention not to bother with the race as late as April, citing a strong commitment to the military and his family as the reason to decline a possible spot in Congress.
Over time, however, he switched from a definite no to a “50-50” before finally declaring that he wants in the race, Defense One reports.
His past in electoral politics includes a successful bid for the House in 2010 when he won in a slightly Democratic-leaning district, and was subsequently reelected in 2012 and 2014.
“Whether it’s serving over 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, working the nightshift as an ER doctor or fighting for Nevadans in Washington, I am proud to have spent my life helping others,” Heck said in a statement to Defense One.
As soon as Heck’s announcement came out, the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call modified ratings to reflect an improvement for GOP chances in Nevada.
“I’ve seen suffering in my family and in our Nevada family’s. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to healing the hurt, mending broken lives, and fixing problems,” Heck said in his announcement video. “I’m a healer, that’s who I am, and that’s what I do.”
Heck has a long history with the military, having served active-duty three times. He’s a former physician for the Army and a brigadier general in the Army Reserve, who wants to encourage veterans to run for Congress, especially since the number of veterans in office is at 101 and has been on the decline.
Both Sen. John McCain and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweeted out support for Heck’s run, where he’s likely to face Democratic candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, who formerly served as attorney general for Nevada. Bush stated he was confident that Heck would win Reid’s seat in 2016.
“The attacks are on their way, and we need to raise $10,000 right now to be ready,” Masto wrote to her supporters on Monday after word of Heck’s entrance broke.