Danny Tarkanian announces run for U.S. Senate

LAS VEGAS - Businessman Danny Tarkanian announced Tuesday he plans to challenge Sen. Dean Heller in the 2018 Republican primary.  Tarkanian broke the news live on the Fox News Channel.

"We're never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office that fully support President Trump and his 'America first' agenda," Tarkanian told Fox & Friends.

Conservative members of the GOP are upset with Sen. Heller over his back-and-forth stance on repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and for his support for abortion and federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In June a pro-Trump group launched advertisements against Heller.

"Dean Heller wasn't just one of the first never-Trumpers in Nevada, he was one of the most influential," said Tarkanian. "He actually helped Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada."

Tarkanian is the son of former UNLV basketball coach, Jerry Tarkanian, and Las Vegas City Councilwoman, Lois Tarkanian.

Sen. Heller's camp dismissed Tarkanian as a perennial political candidate.

"Nevada voters have rejected him every time," said Heller spokesman, Tommy Ferraro.  "He's wasted conservatives' time and cost the Republican Party seats up and down the ballot."

Tarkanian has made five unsuccessful bids for public office, including a failed run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010.  In 2016, Tarkanian lost the race in Nevada's 3rd congressional district to Democrat Jacky Rosen by fewer than 4,000 votes out of more than 310,000 ballots cast.

Rosen has already announced she plans to run for the Senate in 2018 for the Democrats.

The race promises to garner intense national attention. Heller is the only Senate Republican up for re-election in the 2018 midterms in a state that Hillary Clinton won.  It's a seat Democrats have circled as a top target, but one Republicans think they can hold.

Conservatives in Nevada believe Heller could suffer the same fate as Rep. Joe Heck in his 2016 Race. Heck criticized Trump weeks before the election, only to back away from those statements. Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto beat Heck 49%-44% in the general election.


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