Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) is in no rush to make a decision on a 2012 Senate run, saying Tuesday she has assurances from other potential top-tier Democratic contenders that they won't run for the seat if she opts for a race.
Berkley is waiting on polling testing a hypothetical general-election match-up with Rep. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSeven most vulnerable governors facing reelection in 2022 Nevada becomes early Senate battleground Nevada governor Sisolak injured in car accident, released from hospital MORE (R-Nev.). She describes her decisionmaking process as "very methodical."
"We're doing our polling over the next few weeks, and then I'll make a decision," Berkley told The Ballot Box on Tuesday, acknowledging that Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) decision to retire could move her timetable up a bit.
Ensign made his announcement earlier this week, depriving Democrats of the opponent they would have preferred to face in next year's general election and all but guaranteeing that Heller, who makes a much more formidable opponent, will jump in.
Still, Berkley said, she's under no pressure from fellow Democrats to make a quick decision on a run. In recent conversations with three other rumored Democratic contenders — Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and State Treasurer Kate Marshall — Berkley said all offered assurances that they will wait on her decision.
"They all said the exact same thing, 'We're waiting on you, we love you and then we'll make our decision,' " she said.
One Democrat who isn't waiting is businessman and self-funder Byron Georgiou, who became the first Democrat to jump in the race on Tuesday. Neither Berkley nor national Democrats view him as a top-tier contender for the seat, though.
When the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Guy Cecil, traveled to Nevada last month, he met with Miller, Marshall and Cortez Masto, but not Georgiou.
Georgiou was appointed to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2009 by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D-Nev.) and is a donor to Democratic causes in Nevada and nationally. He noted Tuesday that he has received "significant encouragement" to run for the seat over the past year.
Berkley has said she would make a decision on the race by late spring or early summer, but left open the possibility that she could decide before that given the open-seat race.
"There was never a great need for me to get in early, because I have the good fortune of not having to worry about a Democratic primary," said Berkley. "But now that Sen. Ensign has announced he won't run, we haven't necessarily made any changes, but we could move that [timetable] up depending on what I decide."
While Ensign is officially out, there remains the potential for a GOP primary. Heller could face a challenge from Republican Sharron Angle, who ran unsuccessfully for Reid's seat in 2010.