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Reno senator Brower to file Monday for Heller’s seat

CARSON CITY — State Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, announced Friday that he’ll file to run for Rep. Dean Heller’s congressional seat.

Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said he will consult with his family over the Easter holiday weekend and announce his decision early next week about whether he will join the race.

"I think if I’m in, people need to be aware of that, and if I’m out, people need to know as soon as possible," Krolicki said in an interview.

Brower plans to file Monday for the 2nd Congressional District contest, which could be decided in a special election this year.

Brower began calling insiders earlier this week to tell them he was getting into the race, as first reported on Wednesday by the Review-Journal. He made another round of calls on Friday saying he was quickly filing in the wake of U.S. Sen. John Ensign’s sudden resignation.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said Friday he would appoint a replacement for Ensign before May 3, the effective date. If he appoints Heller as is widely expected, the governor would need to call a special election to replace Heller within 180 days.

The race to replace Heller is expected to be crowded and complicated.

Republican Sharron Angle and former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold already are running for the House seat. Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei said before the Ensign resignation announcement that he is preparing to enter the race as soon as May.

Krolicki said his timetable was accelerated by the Ensign announcement and he would have preferred to wait until after the Nevada Legislature wraps up in June as scheduled.

It’s unclear whether any special election will be a free-for-all with all candidates from all parties and independents running to finish first or if the parties’ central committees will select a candidate to put on the ballot.

Secretary of State Ross Miller will likely have to decide the rules after examining the relevant laws.

Angle once defeated Brower in 2002 when she first won a Reno Assembly seat, where she served for several sessions.

Angle won 51.2 percent of the vote compared with 48.8 percent for Brower.

Although Angle was damaged by her 2010 loss to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, she’s considered a strong campaigner who has a loyal conservative base. Most observers think she would do well in a free-for-all election but would not likely win backing from the GOP Central Committee which has hundreds of members, mostly establishment.

Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.

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