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Tarkanian switches from Senate to House race after Trump asks for Heller to run unopposed

Republican Danny Tarkanian, a prominent Las Vegas businessman, announced Tuesday he is mounting a primary challenge to Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, considered one of the Senate's most vulnerable Republicans in 2018. (AP file photos)

Danny Tarkanian announced Friday he will file to run again for Nevada's third congressional district, forgoing his previously announced campaign for U.S. Senate.

Tarkanian announced the change in a statement that came shortly after President Donald Trump said "it would be great" for Nevada's Republican Party if U.S. Sen. Dean Heller ran unopposed in the primary of his re-election bid.

According to the statement, the president's political team reached out to Tarkanian late Wednesday about the change.

"I am confident I would have won the US Senate race and done a great job representing the people of Nevada in the Senate, but the President is adamant that a unified Republican ticket in Nevada is the best direction for the America First movement," Tarkanian said in his statement.

The president tweeted Friday morning that the state GOP's unity stands to benefit if challenger Danny Tarkanian "would run for Congress."

It would be great for the Republican Party of Nevada, and it’s (sic) unity if good guy Danny Tarkanian would run for Congress and Dean Heller, who is doing a really good job, could run for Senate unopposed!

Heller, a Republican, has filed for re-election with the Nevada Secretary of State's office, but Tarkanian had not filed for office as of Friday morning.

Amy Tarkanian, Danny's wife, thanked Trump for his support in a tweet that came in response to the president's.

"He would've made an excellent Senator, but will also make a tremendous member of Congress," Amy tweeted.

Danny Tarkanian ran for Nevada's third congressional district in 2016 but lost to Democrat Jacky Rosen, who has also filed to run for U.S. Senate this year.

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