Berkley faces campaign handicap

Berkley faces handicap

The ethics investigation of U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, announced this week, is likely to hang over her during her entire U.S. Senate campaign this year.

It took 10 months just to reach this point. The complaint, by the Nevada Republican Party, was filed in September 2011 following a New York Times report on Berkley’s advocacy of positions in Congress on medical practices that the newspaper claimed could benefit her husband’s clinic. Virtually no one is predicting quick action by the House Ethics Committee.

Meanwhile, Berkley—whose name recognition in populous Clark County gave her an early lead in her Senate race—has now fallen into steady second place rankings in surveys. Berkley and her opponent, Republican Dean Heller, are separated by only two or three points, but that margin has held for the last five surveys.

Last week a Washington Post report pointed to what it called “anecdotal evidence” that some Romney voters will cross over to vote for Berkley. This was a reference to “several” Las Vegas voters cited by the newspaper, only one of whom was named—David Leavitt, a Clark County resident with a prominent Mormon name in the county, who said he planned to vote for Berkley.