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Sandoval appoints Heller to fill Ensign seat

As expected, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) appointed GOP Congressman Dean Heller to fill Sen. John Ensign's (R) Senate seat.

Heller is already running in 2012 for a full six-year term for the seat.

Sandoval also said that an announcement of the special election to fill Heller's congressional seat is forthcoming.

Per Sandoval's press release:

"A fiscal conservative who believes in limited government, Dean will fight to keep taxes low and balance the federal budget. He understands that the federal government spends too much money and places too many regulatory burdens on small business. Just as Senator John Ensign fought for states' rights and sound economic policies, Dean will speak out for the concerns of every-day Nevadans. I am confident he will help get Nevada working again.

"Dean Heller is a compassionate man of deep personal integrity, with a down-to-earth approach to public service. I have no doubt Dean will serve Nevada in the Senate for many years, and I look forward to working with him on behalf of the state we both love so much.

"Recognizing that this appointment will create a vacancy in the office of U.S. Representative from Nevada's Second Congressional District, I pledge to work closely with Secretary of State Ross Miller on the timing of the upcoming transition and resulting special election. I have asked Secretary Miller to provide me with information on the rules for conducting this election at his earliest convenience."

*** UPDATE *** DSCC spokesman Matt Canter sends along this statement in response:

As the unelected senator, Dean Heller will now be forced to explain to all Nevadans why he is working in Washington to end Medicare and cut loans for small businesses that create clean-energy jobs in Nevada. Becoming the unelected senator will come with a level of heightened scrutiny that will hurt Heller in a general election.