Heller is Senator: Appointment makes 6 Mormons in U.S. Senate

April 29, 2011 | 6 comments
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0-Dean_Heller,_official_110th_Congress_photoYesterday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval named LDS Church member and current member of the U.S. House of Representatives Dean Heller to replace Senator John Ensign, who has resigned effective May 3 rather than face an ethics investigation. The move increases the number of Mormons serving in the Senate to 6 while decreasing the number serving in the House to 9.

For Mormons this creates some interesting political firsts. Since the other Nevada Senator is Harry Reid, also an LDS Church member, Nevada will have two LDS Senators for the first time. Except for Utah, no other state has had two Senators serving at the same time who were both Mormon.

Heller becomes the 20th LDS Church member to serve in the U.S. Senate and the fourth from Nevada. Nevada became the first state other than Utah to have an LDS Church member serve in the Senate when Berkeley Bunker was named to the Senate in 1940.

Sandoval has yet to name a replacement for Heller, but none of the names mentioned in yesterday’s news reports were Mormon.

At this point there is a possibility that the number of Mormons in Congress will increase in 2012 (although not because of this change). Current Arizona Representative Jeff Flake has expressed interest in replacing Senator Jon Kyl, who has decided not to seek reelection in 2012. Given that, former congressman Matt Salmon, Flake’s predecessor, has indicated he will seek the seat he once held. Of course, both Flake and Salmon will need to get voters to elect them.

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6 Responses to Heller is Senator: Appointment makes 6 Mormons in U.S. Senate

  1. Tom O. on April 29, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Governors to not appoint individuals to the House of Representatives — ever. Those seats remain vacant until a special election is held. It’s one of the unique things about the House — all of its members are always elected by the people.

  2. Kent Larsen on April 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

    You are right, Tom. I must have had a brain freeze early this morning when I put this together.

    Regardless, all those who have been mentioned in the news as possible replacements are not LDS.

  3. Tom O. on April 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Kent,

    I know it must exist somewhere, but I’m feeling too unmotivated on a Friday afternoon to do much searching — so I’ll throw this out there: 1) What percentage of the Nevada population is LDS (and how does this rank among the states)? 2) Who are all the LDS members of the House?

    Thanks, and I apologize for the laziness :)

  4. Kent Larsen on April 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Tom O., I put together a list of many of the LDS members in politics in the U.S. after the last election. See:

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2010/12/elected-mormons-2010/

    I believe your question about the proportion of members in Nevada may be in the posst I did about apportionment in December:

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2010/12/apportionment-tomorrow-likely-means-more-mormons-in-u-s-congress/

  5. floridagirl on April 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I knew it was only a matter of time before we took over the world completely. Well played, Mormons.

  6. Davy Oregon on May 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Hold the presses… There may be eight LDS U.S. Senators next year. Besides Jeff Flake being the frontrunner in Arizona, the former mayor of Honolulu, Muliufi “Mufi” Hannemann has a good chance of being Hawaii’s next Senator. With Hawaii’s senor Senator Daniel Inouye not running, word has it Mufi didn’t run again for Honolulu mayor because he’s going to be making a run for the Senate. He is a very popular mayor and would have been a shoe-in if he wanted to run for that office again.

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