LAS VEGAS â€“ Â The Senate race in Nevada is coming down to the wire with less than three weeks before the election, and with the balance of power in the Senate potentially on the line the contest is one of the most bitter in the Silver Stateâ€™s history.
Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican, is facing a challenge from Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley. Heller was appointed to the seat after the resignation of Sen. John Ensign amid misconduct allegations. Berkley, who faces conflict of interest allegations in the House Ethics Committee, contends Heller is too partisan and is the wrong choice for Nevadans who are facing whatâ€™s seen as the toughest economy in the nation.
This key presidential swing state has the highest unemployment rate in the country, and its home foreclosure rates are near national highs.
â€œNobody works harder than me to keep people in their homes and do everything I can to make sure that people that are in foreclosure have alternatives to losing their homes. And I work very, very hard to make sure that we keep people in their homes,â€ Berkley said in a debate Monday.
Despite agreement about the biggest problems facing their state, Berkley and Heller are deeply and ideologically divided on how to fix them.
“I didn’t ever think it was going to be easy,â€ Heller said. “I have a solid opponent, and she’s doing a very good job for her party, for her ideas. Â We just disagree on what direction we think this country ought to go.”
The Real Clear Politics polling average in the race shows Heller maintaining a thin, 3-percentage-point lead over Berkley, and the race is considered to be a toss-up. Heller thinks the presidential race may make the difference in whether he goes back to Washington.
â€œI think it’s 50-50 right now,â€ Heller said. â€œIt’s interesting watching the numbers bounce around a little bit, but you know, I believe it has a lot to do with how the presidential race goes. If Romney does well, I think we do well, and I’m counting on him doing well.â€
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