The comments came from Nevada’s representative to the Republican National Committee during a taping of the Nevada Newsmakers political show.
“We don’t see him ever since he’s become a Senator,” Heidi Smith said. “Dean, you might say, has disappeared from the common man.”
Smith backed off the comments Tuesday, saying Heller had since scheduled a party in northern Nevada and showed signs of reconnecting with Washoe County residents.
“We’re still very rural and I think in the north, including the rural counties, we want to see who we send to Washington,” Smith said in an interview with The Associated Press. “That’s what gets you elected up here.”
Heller’s campaign said the senator has participated in more than 20 northern Nevada events and more than 29 southern Nevada events since May, plus telephone town halls.
His schedule included parades, tours at businesses and meetings with troops at airports.
“Senator Heller has blanketed northern Nevada and has constantly been to events in Reno, Carson, and Elko, among other places,” Heller spokesman Stewart Bybee said. “Now that he represents Clark County in its entirety, he has also participated in many events in the southern part of the state.”
Heller was appointed to the Senate in May to replace Sen. John Ensign, who resigned amid an ethics investigation. Heller is better known in the rural, northern Nevada congressional district he represented, but now represents millions more people in Las Vegas.
He’s running against Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, who has long represented southern Nevada in the House.