Despite rocky relationship, Heller ‘would love to have’ Trump’s endorsement

By: - September 20, 2021 5:54 pm

“I don’t really know everything that was in that law,” former Sen. Dean Heller said of the Texas anti-abortion rights law he thinks Nevada should emulate. “I like the concept of it.” (Photo by Ronda Churchill/The Nevada Current)

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Dean Heller says he has yet to receive former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, but he wants it, despite their on-again, off-again relationship.

In 2016, Heller said he didn’t support Trump “99%,” but later hailed him as a “great leader.”   

Trump told the Nevada Independent in 2019 that Heller’s 2018 Senate loss may have stemmed from his failure to fully embrace him.  

“We haven’t had a conversation about it at this point,” Heller said at a news conference in Las Vegas Monday, hours after announcing his candidacy in Northern Nevada.  “I would love to have President Trump again supporting this campaign.”

He joins a Republican primary field that includes Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Northern Nevada attorney Joey Gilbert, and businessman Guy Nohra. 

Heller said he’s “the only conserative in this race,” pointing to his record on abortion and immigration.  

Earlier Monday, Heller said he supported the Texas law that prohibits abortion after six weeks, even in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.  

He refused to acknowledge that he was pro-choice during his 2006 congressional campaign, when he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal “I’m a Mormon and I teach Sunday school every week, but I do back a woman’s right to choose abortion. It is the conservative position.”

“I want the strongest conservative abortion law we can enact,” he said Monday, adding he was “100 percent pro-life in 12 years in Congress.” 

But unlike the Texas law, which makes no exemptions for  cases of incest or rape, and only very narrow ones protect the life of the mother, Heller says in Nevada, those exceptions can stand. 

“I don’t really know everything that was in that law,” he said. “I like the concept of it.”

Heller says while he doesn’t support mandates or lockdowns, “I take coronavirus serious.”  

He says had he been governor in 2020, he would not have mandated that casinos close. 

“They (casinos companies) had to do it because the governor told them to do it. The governor called them on a Friday and they had to close on Monday,” he said. 

He disputed the fact that two major hotel companies, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, announced on Sunday, March 15, two days before Sisolak’s announcement, that they would close.  

Heller said he’d “talked with some of the leaders” of casinos who opposed the decision. “I would not have made that mandate.” 

Heller said as governor, he would not necessarily follow the guidance of federal health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control. 

The CDC “isn’t perfectly right every single time,” he said. 

Heller could not say whose advice he would rely on for public health guidance.  

“We will have conversations with multiple health care technicians, clinics and so forth, and get the best information we can get.” 

While he condemns Sisolak’s approach to the pandemic, Heller was unable to say if he lacks confidence in the governor’s public health advisors. 

“I don’t know who his advisors are,” he said. 

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.