Rep. Shelley Berkley’s popularity has never been questioned in her six terms representing the 1st Congressional District. And despite being on the wrong side of the national wave against Democrats and incumbents, she continues to be a clear voter favorite in Southern Nevada.
Berkley cruised past her most viable challenger, capturing 62 percent of the votes compared with Republican Kenneth Wegner’s 35 percent . Independent American Jonathan Hansen and Libertarian Ed Klapproth each received less than 2 percent of the vote.
Shortly after she spoke at the Democratic Party soiree at Aria, Berkley said her top priority for the upcoming term is clear.
"Jobs, jobs and jobs. We have got to get people back to work," she said. "Until the rest of the country recovers, Nevada is going to lag behind because we depend on disposable income coming to Las Vegas. We need to get this country working again."
Berkley said she has no concerns about serving in a Congress controlled by Republicans.
"I’ve served under Democratic presidents and under Republican presidents. I’ve served in the majority and in the minority," she said. "My job stays the same. I serve the people of Nevada."
Berkley watched her Democratic congressional colleagues endure tough races while she went about her business, appearing at events touting Southern Nevada transportation projects, most of which she helped get funded. Unlike her colleagues, Berkley rarely, if ever, mentioned her re-election bid during speeches celebrating the projects.
Wegner expressed bitterness in his brief concession speech, chastising news media for ignoring him and lamenting, "I did not attack my opponent like maybe I should have."
He congratulated Berkley, then urged her to stop traveling the country and "come back and do what’s right for us here."
Republican Dean Heller also had a smooth ride to re-election in the 2nd Congressional District despite his critics’ suggestions that he will abandon his seat and run for U.S. Senate in 2012. Heller, a self-described "rising star" in the Republican Party, garnered 64 percent of the vote compared with Democrat Nancy Price’s 32 percent.
"I am humbled by the opportunity to continue to serve the great state of Nevada in Congress," Heller said. "As Nevadans continue to struggle with record unemployment, it is imperative that we move our country in the right direction, turn our economy around and get Nevadans back to work.
"There are great challenges ahead, but I look forward to facing these challenges head-on."
Heller has maintained support in Nevada because of his staunch opposition to raising taxes, particularly those that hit small businesses. He said during his campaign that the success of small businesses will lead to a healthier economy.
Price, a former member of the Board of Regents who is married to former Assemblyman Bob Price, D-North Las Vegas, was making her first attempt to enter the national political scene.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2904.Election Day 2010
Election Night 2010