Heck inches closer to the Senate race

Rep. Joe Heck is getting closer to a bid for Harry Reid's U.S. Senate seat, a development that could effectively clear the primary field and make the race very competitive.

I told you a couple of weeks ago Heck was rethinking the contest. But, I've confirmed from multiple sources, he is almost there, although no commitments yet.

Ryan Erwin, Heck's closest adviser, would not comment for this piece.

But I'm told Heck is at worst 50-50 on getting in, and maybe more likley than that once he has finished his due diligence.

Here's what a Republican familiar with Heck's thinking told me:

"Nevada and national leaders have made a compelling case that Congressman Heck is the only Republican that can clear a primary. I think the NRSC and Heck's political team have made the case that he is in strong position to win. Any hesitation at this point seems to be related to family (run every six years rather than every two?) and military (he is a brigadier general) commitments. Expect Governor Sandoval, Senator Heller, Congressmen Heck, Amodei and Hardy to be in lock-step.  They all want to avoid a messy primary and right now they seem to all be encouraging Heck to be the guy".

Heck does like being in the House. But this may be too good to pass up, even though the congressman is said to believe the race against Catherine Cortez Masto is tougher than it would have been against Reid

"Congressman Heck is happy where he is," the GOP insider told me. "The push has come from the outside rather than from within but if he decides to run Republicans could not find a more focused candidate".

Heck has won his last two elections easily in his swing district, despite Democratic focus and spending. He is the second-best Republican candidate behind Gov. Brian Sandoval, and he seems to have come full circle -- or almost -- since he ruled it out last year.

If Heck gets in, expect state Senate Majority leader Michel Roberson to run for Heck's seat.