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Meet Joe Heck, the One-Star General Who Could Take Reid’s Senate Seat

June 14, 2015

Military experience? Check. Small business owner? Check. Physician? Check. Congressional leadership? Check. Winning record in swing district? Check. National security election? Double check.

Nevada Rep. Joe Heck has gone from flat-out no to “at least 50-50” in a potential run for retiring Harry Reid’s Senate seat, but as the run-up to 2016 continues to push national security to the forefront, the GOP has to like the Republican’s odds.

Last month, the congressman sat patiently through the House Armed Services Committee’s 18-hour markup of the annual defense authorization bill as Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, repeatedly redirected questions about benefits reforms to Heck, who leads the military personnel subcommittee. For decades the Pentagon has been warning about ballooning personnel costs, but Congress has blocked efforts to change the system. In just four months as personnel chief, Heck made some headway: many of his recommendations are now part of the House’s version of the NDAA, including a proposal to dramatically change military retirement.

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