Endangered Republican Senator Just Explained How He Plans to Win in November, and People Aren't So Sure

Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy  (Photos by Mark Wilson/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Anthony McLeod Kennedy, received his seat on the highest court in the land via President Ronald Reagan on February 18, 1988. Thirty years is a long time to serve. At 81 years old, Justice Kennedy is the last Reagan appointee on the bench and currently the longest serving member of the Supreme Court.

Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada thinks that timeline presents an opportunity for his precarious senate reelection campaign. Senator Heller predicts Justice Kennedy will retire this summer. And Heller thinks his prediction should drive Republicans to the polls.

Heller spoke at the J. Reuben Clark Law Society in Las Vegas Friday. In an audio recording from the event, the Senator made several statements about the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. He spoke about what Republicans, mostly focusing on himself, need to do to win in November.

“I’m not going to sit here and criticize him,” Heller remarked on President Donald Trump. “...I don’t want to get too far in front of some of these policies.”

Republicans and political analysts credit the Supreme Court vacancy in 2016 for keeping the Senate in GOP control and creating the Trump presidency. President Barack Obama nominated a replacement, but the GOP led Congress stalled for longer than any appointment in history ensuring Obama would not seat another SCOTUS justice.

The Nevada senator, facing serious threats in his reelection bid, hopes lightning strikes twice and a SCOTUS retirement will lead to his victory.

Kennedy is going to retire around sometime early summer. Which I’m hoping will get our base a little motivated because right now they’re not very motivated. But I think a new Supreme Court justice will get them motivated.”

However Heller neglects to recognize an important difference between 2016 and 2018 and how the Supreme Court fills vacancies. The 2016 elections GOP surge hinged on the idea of a Democrat appointing the next Supreme Court Justice. Republican leadership used that threat to gain votes for themselves on the coattails of the presidency.

But that free ride isn't available in 2018 however. The presidency currently resides in Republican hands. Regardless of Heller's return to the senate or replacement by someone else, a Republican will still fill the next open SCOTUS vacancy until 2021 when the next president would be sworn into office.

Others are pointing out the errors in Heller's logic and questioning the validity of his claims regarding Justice Kennedy. Are they an accurate prediction or just a political ploy?

CNN video/Win McNamee/Getty Images

Maine's Democratic primary is slated for March 3.

The vote will determine who faces off against Senator Susan Collins in November.

Keep reading...
ABC/The View

President Donald Trump has made no effort to keep his thoughts on the trial of his former advisor, Roger Stone, a secret.

Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, obstructing justice, and threatening a witness last year. When prosecutors recommended a seven to nine year prison sentence, Trump fumed on Twitter and the Justice Department subsequently overrode the opinion of its prosecutors, who resigned in response.

Today, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his crimes, leading everyone to ask: Will Trump pardon one of his most vocal allies?

Keep reading...
Chris Graythen/Getty Images // Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With 2.4 billion active users, Facebook has become a breeding ground for disinformation. Misleading or outright false allegations played an unignorable part of the assault on the 2016 election and a number of lawmakers say Facebook isn't doing enough to curtail fake news ahead of 2020.

Now a recent Washington Post report detailing Facebook's response to fake news pages after President Donald Trump's shocking victory in 2016 is raising even more concerns.

Keep reading...
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Republicans often claim their party has the upper hand with voters when it comes to fiscal responsibility. When a Democrat is in office, one of the chief complaints you can count on from Republican lawmakers is that the President is ballooning the deficit, or sending the federal debt skyward.

This hasn't quite been the case when it's a Republican President occupying the White House.

Keep reading...
NBC News

Contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination debated in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday ahead of the state's primary in the most confrontational debate yet.

Present on the debate stage for the first time was billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a late entry to the campaign whose advertising blitz helped contribute to his rise in the polls, despite having yet to appear on a primary ballot.

Keep reading...
Leon Neal/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's constant trips to his own golf properties around the globe has been a matter of some controversy since he took office in 2017.

A constant critic of President Barack Obama's golf outings—which unlike Trump Obama did not personally profit from—the 45th POTUS claimed he would be too busy working to ever play golf.

Keep reading...