Until late March, the race for the open seat in the Nevada senate appeared to be a race between incumbent Harry Reid and the challenging Republican party. However, when Reid, who is 76, announced he’d be retiring at the end of his term, a wrench was thrown into the mix for the Democratic party. Now, in what can only be called a neck and neck race, GOP nominee Joe Heck currently holds the edge over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

Polls conducted in mid-late September by Rasmussen and Fox News show Heck holding a roughly four-point lead over Cortez Masto. After entering the race an underdog by many counts (he was given a 36% chance of winning the seat in mid-July), Heck has surged back.

Heck was a member of the Nevada Senate between 2004 and 2008, also serving on the Natural Resources, the Commerce and Labor, and the Human Resources and Education Committees during his tenure.

In 2011, Heck assumed office as a member of the House of Representatives in Nevada’s 3rd District, beating Dina Titus by just over 1,000 votes in 2010. In both 2012 and 2014, Heck increased his margins of victory over Democratic nominees, a testament to his accomplishments in office, including pieces of legislation he helped to pass to benefit veterans in 2013.

Some of Heck’s notoriety comes from his non-political past. A veteran himself, Heck achieved the rank of Brigadier General in the US Army. He is also a board-certified physician, a skill he utilized in 2008 when he was in charge of the emergency room at a combat hospital near Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

Now, after easily beating Sharron Angle for the GOP nomination by a 42% margin, Heck has turned his sights to doing the same in the general election.

Heck’s place in the race in Nevada is a particularly important one this election season, as it represents the best chance for the GOP to claim a seat formerly held by the Democratic party.

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