Nevada gubernatorial candidate Dean Heller refuses to say Biden is president

Nevada gubernatorial candidate Dean Heller refuses to say Biden is president

Although Republicans maintained their U.S. Senate majority in the 2018 midterms — Democrats didn't retake the Senate until January 2021 — they were disappointed when then-Sen. Dean Heller was voted out of office in Nevada. Trumpism did not serve Heller well in 2018; he lost to Democrat Jacky Rosen, now a U.S. senator, by 5%. But Heller, who is running for governor of Nevada in the 2022 midterms, hasn't grown any less Trumpian since 2018 — and that includes promoting the Big Lie.

During an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week, the 61-year-old Heller didn't come right out and make the false claim that now-President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election. But he wouldn't acknowledge that Biden legitimately won the election either.

Review-Journal reporter Bill Dentzer explains, "Dean Heller says he knows who the president is. He just won't name that person — no matter how the question is asked…. Heller repeatedly declined — during his kickoff on Monday and in Tuesday's interview — to say that Joe Biden had been elected in 2020."

In Nevada's GOP gubernatorial primary, Heller is competing with North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, businessman Guy Nohra and Reno-based attorney Joey Gilbert. The winner will go up against Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who is seeking a second term, in the general election.

In 2016, Heller was highly critical of Donald Trump, saying he was "100% against" Hillary Clinton and "99% against Trump." But like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and many other former Trump critics, Heller has since flip flopped and gone full MAGA — whether he is promoting Trump's bogus election fraud claims, encouraging voter suppression, opposing mask and vaccinate mandates or voicing his support for Texas' draconian new anti-abortion law (Heller used to support funding for Planned Parenthood). And during the Review-Journal interview, Heller was more than happy to push the Big Lie.

Heller told the Review-Journal, "I still know who the president is, but I do believe we have a problem with elections…. We're talking about changing the outcome of an election. We're talking about changing by manipulating the process…. Election fraud is a bipartisan issue…. I think the 2020 election was a mess."

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