Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) announced his candidacy for Senate in 2012 in a statement released on Tuesday, Jon Ralston at the Las Vegas Sun reports.
News of Heller's decision to run for the seat currently held by Sen. John Ensign comes in the wake of the incumbent lawmaker revealing his intention to retire at the end of the term. Ensign is the subject of an ongoing Senate Ethics Committee investigation stemming from an affair he had with Cynthia Hampton, an ex-staffer and wife of his best friend and co-chief of staff at the time.
Heller hinted as recently as last month that he could challenge Ensign in Nevada's 2012 primary election. Ralston reported at the time that Heller had taken a poll to assess whether he could run a competitive campaign against the incumbent senator.
In a blog post titled "Why I'm Running" published online on Tuesday, Heller addressed his plans for the next election cycle. Here's an excerpt of what he had to say:
Your past support has meant a lot me and for this reason I wanted you to be among the first to know that I am running for the United States Senate.
It is difficult to see so many people hurting in my home state. As many of you know, I grew up in Nevada and my wife Lynne and I have raised our family here. We see the tough choices our friends, neighbors, and family members are making every day and I see how poor decisions in Washington are impacting their lives.
This is not the first time that Nevadans have endured tough times and it won't be the last, but I know that there are better days ahead.
Our strength as a state and a nation is bigger than the troubles of today. However, it is also incumbent upon us to affect change in difficult times to create a better future.
As families across Nevada struggle to pay their bills and fight to keep their homes, Barack Obama and his beltway allies are proposing record spending that will add to America's job killing debt from a stratospheric $14 trillion to a staggering $20 trillion.
We cannot allow this to happen.
Click here to read more from Heller on his plans for 2012.