LAS VEGAS -- It seems like the last United States Senate race just ended, but the 2012 race has already begun. Senator Dean Heller has the seat now, but two Democrats are vying for the right to challenge him -- Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Byron Georgiou.
Georgiou has millions of dollars to spend, expertise in the financial meltdown and his electric cars could play a role in the race. Georgiou says it's time to do something different in politics, and in business.
"At some point, we're going to be powered exclusively by electric, maybe by solar, maybe by nuclear," he said.
His Xtreme Green line of electric vehicles are assembled in North Las Vegas, with many parts made in the U.S. His Police Sentinels and ATV's go worldwide.
"We're one of the unique businesses in America that manufactures in America and exports to Mexico," he said.
But Georgiou is more than an upstart tech owner. He's a lawyer by trade and took on Enron and WorldCom, and won. His financial expertise also landed him on the Fiscal Crisis Inquiry Committee, appointed by Senator Harry Reid.
"I spent a year and a half investigating the root causes of the financial crisis. I know more about that issue than the two Congress members who are running against me put together," he said.
One of those opponents is Shelley Berkley, the popular Congresswoman already anointed by the Democratic establishment, and Reid, as the front runner. That caused a rift for Georgiou.
"He may be the Senate majority leader, but he's not infallible," he said.
Georgiou pointedly disagrees with the bank bailouts. He doesn't believe in handouts for failure. But success against the powerful is what made Georgiou a rich man. He has already poured half a million dollars into his war chest.
It's a similar move by recent political outsiders like WWE board member Linda McMahon in her race in Connecticut, California gubernatorial runner-up Meg Whitman and Las Vegas mayoral candidate Victor Chaltiel.
Georgiou says his ties to the community are stronger and personal money is better than kowtowing to special interests.
"Which I think is the cleanest, safest money to be investing in a campaign because it comes with no strings attached. Nobody will own me in the United States Senate," he said.
Georgiou recently hired Joe Trippi to aid the campaign. Trippi is the political hired gun who made a splash in 2004 with internet fundraising while running Howard Dean's campaign.