CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller said Wednesday he'll run for the U.S. House seat that fellow Republican Jim Gibbons is expected to vacate to run for governor.
Heller's announcement follows comments last week by outgoing Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, Jim Gibbons' wife, that she will run for the congressional seat if he seeks the governor's office.
Gibbons has announced a steering committee to evaluate a bid for governor in 2006 to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn, who can't seek a third four-year term.
Heller praised Gibbons' service in Congress and said he "fully supports" the congressman's likely gubernatorial race. Gibbons was just elected in November to his fifth House term, representing Nevada's sprawling Congressional District 2.
In his candidacy statement, the secretary of state quoted Guinn as saying Heller has done "an excellent job" in his current office and "could represent Nevada with the same distinction in Washington, D.C."
Heller said his experience as secretary of state and, before that, as a state assemblyman would serve him well if he was elected to the U.S. House. He also said he asked his wife and children about his plans and "their collective answer was a resounding 'yes."'
Dawn Gibbons, who served three terms in the state Assembly, said last week she wanted to start her campaign early to find out whether Nevada voters want a congresswoman who also is the first lady. Jim Gibbons already is seen as a leading candidate for governor in 2006.