Nevada Senate: Remains Toss-Up/Tilt Republican

May 5, 2011 · 9:30 AM EDT

Sen. John Ensign’s (R) previous retirement announcement took the punch out of his more recent resignation. Now that he’s gone, Republicans are looking to appointed-Sen. Dean Heller (R) to hold the seat.

The electoral track record of appointed senators is dotted with wins and losses, but the appointment gives Heller 18 months to increase his profile in the Las Vegas-Clark County area where he isn’t as well-known, since he currently represents the rural 2nd District in Congress.

Nevada looks like it will be a battleground up and down the ballot in 2012, but, for now, we’re sticking with our Toss-Up/Tilt Republican rating due to the uncertain appeal of likely Democratic nominee, Cong. Shelley Berkley, particularly outside of Las Vegas.