FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2017 file photo, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., speaks at a news conference in Las Vegas. The most closely-watched race in Nevada's primary election Tuesday, June 12, 2018, is not GOP Sen. Heller's re-election battle - thanks to President Donald Trump - but instead is a contentious Democratic race for governor. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Dean Heller, Jacky Rosen win primaries in Nevada Senate race

June 12, 2018 - 11:15 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — U.S. Sen. Dean Heller cruised through a five-way Republican primary race Tuesday as he prepares for a tough re-election battle that could help swing control of the Senate.

Heller is considered the most vulnerable Republican U.S. senator seeking re-election this year because he's the only one running in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

He's expected to have one of the closest races in the country this November against Democrat Jacky Rosen, who prevailed over five others in her primary race.

Rosen is a former computer programmer, software designer and president of a Henderson synagogue who narrowly won her House seat in 2016 after being recruited to run by former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

She's portrayed Heller as a flip-flopper who has cozied up to President Donald Trump.

Heller was a past critic of the president but has become closer to him in recent months and helped deliver the overhaul of the U.S. tax codes to Trump's desk in December.

In return, Trump reached into Nevada's Senate race in March and persuaded Heller's main challenger Danny Tarkanian to drop out and instead run for a U.S. House seat.

Heller says he didn't ask Trump for the favor but estimates it saved him $3 million to $5 million that he would have spent fighting off Tarkanian in the GOP primary.

He's portrayed Rosen as an ineffective newcomer tied to polarizing figures like Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

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