Heck rethinks U.S. Senate race

Rep. Joe Heck, who said six months ago he has no interest in the U.S. Senate, is considering the race, sources confirm.

Heck recently met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has chatted with GOP senators, multiple sources told me. Heck still is leaning against the race, I'm told, but he has agreed to consider the contest. 

"I still think it is more likely that he passes than runs but he has agreed to do his homework and consider it," said one insider familiar with Heck's thinking.

Heck is the GOP's second-most formidable candidate behind Gov. Brian Sandoval, and the NRSC's wooing of the congressman is further evidence of the governor's disclination to run. (This could change, of course, but the governor won't even think about it until after the legislative session and still shows no symptoms of Potomac Fever.)

Said one observer: "The political case is easy - (Heck) clears the primary field and walks in at least even up if not a favorite - but he has military, family and other personal considerations that will be important."

Knowing Heck, he told the NRSC he was leaning heavily against it, but my guess is with ex-Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto in the race, national Republicans are eager to get someone in the contest besides Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers. The problem: I am sure Heck and others see the race as more difficult without Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in the contest.

Heck will take his time. But if he says no by summertime and Sandoval does not change his mind, either, it's back to the second tier: Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison are the most likely prospects to get an NRSC invite if that occurs.

One other dynamic to consider: If Heck gets in, his congressional seat also will become a national focus, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some Senate dreamers ratchet down their ambitions and try for that race.