President Donald Trump traveled to Las Vegas on Saturday to fundraise for vulnerable Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller as part of the effort to expand the Senate’s majority -- something the president has focused on this week as part of the battle with Democrats over immigration.
Trump was traveling to the glitzy city for a private fundraiser, as well as a keynote address to the Nevada GOP convention. He was also expected to hold a separate roundtable event to promote the tax reform legislation passed in December.
Heller is the only Republican senator seeking re-election in a state won by Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton. This is one of the most closely watched races as Republicans look to expand on their 51-49 majority in the Senate.
He will face Democrat Jacky Rosen, who has outraised and outspent Heller so far, in the November race.
Trump is likely to receive a warm welcome from Republican leaders in the battleground state.
“It’s an honor to have a sitting Republican president visit any of our political parties,” state GOP leader Greg Bailor told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’m very honored to have the president visit my home state. It’s a big day for me and for our staff.”
However, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval won’t attend any of the Trump events because he is on a trade mission to Spain, the Review-Journal reported.
Trump campaigned this week in Minnesota and next week will make stops in South Carolina and North Dakota. His visit comes as he has called for a “red wave” in order to pass an immigration bill in Congress while railing against the requirement for 60 votes to break a filibuster.
“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” Trump tweeted. “Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”
GOP leaders pulled an immigration bill from consideration late Thursday and pushed a vote into next week. But, while Trump has invited Democrats to the White House to discuss immigration, he has also indicated that it was pointless until more Republicans are elected.
“Even if we get 100% Republican votes in the Senate, we need 10 Democrat votes to get a much needed Immigration Bill - & the Dems are Obstructionists who won’t give votes for political reasons & because they don’t care about Crime coming from Border!” he said. “So we need to elect more R’s!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.