LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Former Republican Sen. Dean Heller made it official Monday, jumping into the race for the GOP nomination to try to unseat Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in 2022.
Heller, 61, served as Nevada Secretary of State, a congressman and then senator. Heller lost his seat to now-Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen in 2018. He made the announcement in Carson City before flying to Las Vegas to visit Share Village, an organization helping our veterans.
“No lockdowns. No mandates,” Heller responded when the I-Team’s David Charns asked him what a potential Heller administration would mean for Nevada.
Heller said he opposes the lockdown and mask mandate Sisolak implemented in 2020 as the coronavirus spread. The candidate said he is vaccinated and added vaccines are key to getting out of the pandemic.
“Because I think that’s the only way, that’s the only way you can combat this virus is to get immunized,” Heller said. “That’s the answer.”
Heller said even before the vaccine was available, decisions about closures and masks should have been left to individual businesses and families.
“You’re not going to see my name on the door of any box store or a bank that says, ‘You got to wear a mask,’ because Governor Heller told you to do that. That is not going to happen,” Heller said Monday.
As the only candidate to enter the race who has previously won statewide office, Heller is positioning himself as the most conservative candidate. He also said he hopes to win former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
In addition to ending universal mail-in voting, Heller said he would like to implement voter identification.
While speaking to reporters Monday, Heller also stressed his pro-life stance, saying he wants to limit abortion to six weeks, except in cases of rape and incest.
“I want the most conservative pro-life laws enacted in the state of Nevada,” he said.
The right to abortion before 24 weeks is written into the Nevada State Constitution. It would require several voters in the Nevada Legislature, and a statewide ballot initiative, to amend it.
Heller joins Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, attorney Joey Gilbert and venture capitalist Guy Nohra in the race for the Republican nomination.
The primary is scheduled for June 2022 with Election Day in November 2022.
“Republicans have found themselves in a crowded primary they will have to fight through for the next nine months,” a spokesperson for Sisolak’s re-election campaign said in a statement. “In the meantime, Governor Sisolak will be focused on Nevada’s recovery–getting more shots in arms, Nevadans back to work and businesses back open and thriving.”