U.S. Chamber weighs in on Nevada races | RecordCourier.com

U.S. Chamber weighs in on Nevada races

Anyone watching television during election season is going to hear a lot from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the executive director of the Western Regional Office said on Wednesday.

Dick Castner told members of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce that the national office is supporting Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in their upcoming races.

In all, 23 Democrats are up for election and only 10 Republicans. Of the Republicans races, Castner said only two are competitive, including Heller’s race against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

Heller was appointed to replace Sen. John Ensign after he resigned his seat.

Currently Democrats hold 51 seats and Republicans hold 47 in the senate. Two independents meet with the Democrats.

Castner pointed out that the Democrats won their seats in the sweep of 2006 and facing a far less favorable political climate in 2012.

“The race here is a national tossup race and we’ll be in it with both feet,” he said. He said the chamber is planning a second $10 million ad buy and it’s only February.

“We’re making independent expenditures in hopes of making Congress more business-oriented,” he said.

He said he doesn’t believe those efforts will bring Republicans a veto-proof majority.

“But it could flip the other way,” he said. “If it does, I hope someone has the good sense to bring the other party into the bill-writing process so they can find some support, and we can finally get our house in order, because it isn’t in order now.”

The chamber met at Genoa Lakes Golf Resort.

The western regional office is responsible for legislative and political activities in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii in support of the U.S. Chamber’s national public policy goals.

Prior to his current position, Castner was in charge of the chamber’s Chicago office and served as senior legislative affairs manager in the chamber’s Bay Area office.

Before joining the U.S. Chamber staff in 1991, Castner held several positions with John Deere at their corporate headquarters. Castner received a master’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Iowa.