Nevada Republican Senate candidateDanny Tarkanian could not have picked a poorer time to potentially provoke President Trump. Tarkanian attacked his primary opponent, incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R), on Nevada radio station KBET on Thursday, claiming Heller "talks to Ivanka Trump all the time. Well, Ivanka Trump was a Democrat, and she's very, very moderate to liberal, compared to the Republican base."
Tarkanian, who is backed by Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, apparently miscalculated: "Ivanka Trump is viewed favorably by 81 percent of Republicans," CNN notes. Tarkanian's attack was apparently intended as an "effort to capture voters who bought into Trump's campaign pledges and are loyal to the president, but suspicious of those around him in Washington — particularly on Capitol Hill."
Heller is one of the most endangered Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections; if he wins the June 12 Republican primary, he will face off against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen this fall. Trump has expressed his irritation with Heller, who voted against an ObamaCare repeal last year, threatening "he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?" Still, the Las Vegas Review-Journal claimed earlier this month that whatever path to victory Tarkanian may have once had against Heller, it now "no longer exists."
In an email to CNN, Tarkanian clarified that he "did not say nor mean to infer a relationship with Ivanka is a bad thing. It is a good thing. She is the daughter of the president." Jeva Lange