Danny Tarkanian added his name Tuesday to what's becoming a crowded Republican field of candidates hoping to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
As of Tuesday evening, five Republicans had signed up to chase their party's nomination, but the size of the field didn't bother Tarkanian.
"Of course not," he said. "It's really, 'Who are the people who are going to take a significant amount of votes?'"
He said that for now it appears to be a contest between him and Sue Lowden, a former state legislator and GOP chairwoman.
Tarkanian, a former UNLV basketball star who runs a real estate business and a basketball academy, said he hopes to distinguish himself to voters by calling for lower taxes and reduced regulation and by noting his opposition to budget earmarks, the so-called "pork" spending dear to many lawmakers. He also thinks aspects of the federal bailout didn't hold recipients accountable enough.
Las Vegas businessman Scott Ashjian, a registered Republican, also joined the Senate chase Tuesday as the candidate for the Tea Party of Nevada.
It's a new party that filed its paperwork in January, and some in the national Tea Party movement have questioned its legitimacy, wondering if Ashjian's intention is to split conservative votes.
Ashjian issued a short statement Tuesday but did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking additional comment.
"I am running because I love my country and because Harry Reid and Barack Obama are ruining it," he wrote. "America's on its way to bankruptcy. China, Russia and Iran would love nothing more than to see our country go bankrupt. We are in hock to the largest communist country in the world. And I can't stand by and let both political parties lead us down this path."
Polling results released Sunday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicated that if the election took place last week, Reid would draw 36 percent of voters, while the Republican nominee would get 32 percent and the Tea Party candidate 18 percent. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Joe Heck, a former state senator, also filed Tuesday. He is one of three Republicans in the race, so far, hoping to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., in the 3rd Congressional District.
He, too, said taxes and "burdensome" regulation are keeping the economy from rebounding, and said the health care debate should be on "true health care reform, not health insurance reform."
Heck also takes issue with the White House's handling of foreign affairs, saying America is not standing with longtime allies or defining its place in the world.
"I don't think this administration has an understanding of foreign policy," Heck said. "I don't agree with how they're going about it."
Candidates for this year's elections can file until March 12.
Early voting for the primary takes place May 22 through June 4. The primary election will be June 8.
Early voting for the general election starts Oct. 16 and ends Oct. 29. The general election takes place Nov. 2.
Contact reporter Alan Choate at email@example.com or 702-229-6435.