Published Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 | 3:23 p.m.
Updated Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 | 11:28 a.m.
As U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Carson City, likes to say, he was one of the first Nevada Republicans to endorse Sharron Angle the night she won the GOP primary in the U.S. Senate race.
But the man who elected not to run against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid—much to the consternation of national Republican leaders—doesn’t necessarily think Reid’s defeat would be a good thing for Nevada.
During a taping of "To the Point" today, Heller acknowledged that Reid’s leadership post has protected Nevada in several important ways. It’s a reality that voters need to address, he added.
“Obviously, I side with Sharron on conservatism and her positions on taxes and size of government,” Heller said. “But also on the other side, you’ve got to look at what Sen. Reid has done for the state of Nevada in keeping Yucca Mountain (out).
“Believe me, I’ve been on the House floor, I’ve been yelling and screaming against Yucca Mountain. In fact, we had a vote recently, I think there were only 10 votes opposed to Yucca Mountain in the House of Representatives. The only reason it didn’t go forward was because of Sen. Reid and his leadership in the Senate.”
If Reid is defeated by Angle, Nevada’s clout in keeping the project out of the state could evaporate.
“It will be a change and I’m not sure what that change will be, but I don’t think it will be in Nevada’s best interest,” he said.
Heller added that Reid has been an important advocate for Nevada’s mining industry.
“If it weren’t for Harry Reid, we would’ve had mining reform today that might be substantially different than it is today,” he said. “We would have federal taxes, we’d have regulations that most miners couldn’t live with.”
Sounds like he’s making a case to keep Reid?
Nope. Heller said it’s up to voters to weigh the “negatives and positives on both sides.”
And he reiterated his support for Angle.