Republicans castigated Berkley as a boilerplate Democrat. "Shelley Berkley's candidacy highlights the choice Nevadans will have in this Senate campaign between yet another big-government, tax-and-spend liberal and a fiscally responsible Republican," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said in a statement.
A Heller-Berkley matchup will highlight two very different voting records. Heller's reflects his largely rural, conservative district, while Berkley's record is much more liberal, befitting her Las Vegas hub. But she won't easily fit the charicature Republicans will paint; Berkley has a streak of foreign policy conservatism, and past National Journal Vote Ratings put her closer to the center of the House.
National Democrats have been landing recruits for competitive Senate races lately, recently convincing former Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to run for Senate. And Nevada represents one of Democrats' best opportunities to pick up a seat in 2012.