Dean Heller gets sworn-in as Nevada's new senator

By Kevin Freking

Associated Press

Published: Monday, May 9 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. left, kisses his wife Lynne Heller in the Old Senate Chambers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011, prior to his mock swearing ceremony. Heller was designated to replace Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who resigned amid an ethics inquiry into an extramarital affair.

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — Nevada's new U.S. senator, Dean Heller, was sworn in Monday to replace the embattled John Ensign, who resigned amid a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into an extramarital affair he had with a staff member.

Heller, 50, was serving his third term in the House when Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval selected him to serve out the remainder of Ensign's term.

The move does little to change the political dynamic in the Senate, as Heller and Ensign shared similar views on most issues.

But it could alter the dynamic in next year's elections in Nevada if Heller can gather support and campaign donations in voter-rich southern Nevada.

Heller was already the favorite to win next year's GOP primary election for Ensign's seat when Sandoval made the appointment.

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