UPDATE (1:45 pm ET): Tarkanian’s campaign released a statement Friday afternoon indicating he will in fact drop his Senate bid and instead file to run for Nevada’s 3rd congressional district.
“Late Wednesday, the President and members of his political team reached out to me and asked me to consider supporting the America First agenda as a Congressional candidate by running again in CD3, where I nearly won in 2016 in what was one of the most expensive and closest Congressional races in America.
This was not something I ever considered. In my travels throughout the state, I’ve had so many wonderful people thank me for running for the US Senate. They believe in our message and the cause. My incredible staff, mostly volunteers, have invested thousands of hours into this cause. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to them all. I do not want to let any of them down.
I have always believed that public service is doing what is in the best interest of the people you represent, not yourself politically. I believe with every ounce of my body that the future of our country, and a better life for our children, requires the implementation of the America First agenda.
I am confident I would have won the US Senate race and done a great job representing the people of Nevada in the Senate, but the President is adamant that a unified Republican ticket in Nevada is the best direction for the America First movement. With President Trump’s full support and endorsement, I am filing to run again in CD3 with the firm belief that we will finish what we started in 2016 and win in 2018.”
President Donald Trump urged upstart Republican primary candidate Danny Tarkanian to drop his challenge to Nevada Senator Dean Heller, in a Friday tweet.
It would be great for the Republican Party of Nevada, and it’s unity if good guy Danny Tarkanian would run for Congress and Dean Heller, who is doing a really good job, could run for Senate unopposed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2018
The President instead is urging Tarkanian to run for a Congressional seat in Nevada which would allow Heller run unopposed in the Republican primary.
Tarkanian has torched Heller as a so-called “Never Trumper” for his opposition to the president in the 2016 election. In his announcement to unseat Heller he said “we’re never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office supporting President Trump. Dean Heller wasn’t just one of the first Never Trumpers in the state of Nevada, he was one of the most influential. He actually helped Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada.”
Heller would face current Nevada Congresswoman Jacky Rosen in the general election. Nevada is considered a battleground state in the 2018 midterm elections. Trump received 45.5% of the Nevada vote in 2016 presidential election while his opponent Hillary Clinton received 47%.