Look no further than this list of the most endangered House Democrats to understand why Republican candidate Joe Heck finds himself hit hard with high-dollar attack ads from the Dina Titus campaign along with groups like AFSCME and EMILY’s list. The Democrats and their surrogates know Heck has a real shot at beating the freshman representative who earlier this year told Nancy Pelosi their party was going to be f—ed in November.
History may encourage and embolden Heck’s political enemies. During his thwarted 2008 state senate re-election campaign, the Nevada Democratic Party launched a nasty ad campaign claiming Heck was opposed to cancer prevention for women. The basis for the ads was his 2007 vote against requiring Nevada health insurance companies to cover Gardasil, the vaccine against the human papilloma virus, which can lead to cervical cancer.
Heck’s stated position, then and now, was that health care mandates drive up insurance costs and can render policies unaffordable to some who need them. But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), one of dozens of public employee unions that are helping electorally susceptible Democratic candidates like Titus, has predictably resurrected the 2008 anti-Heck ad telling NV-3 voters that Heck is “dangerous to women.”
AFSCME is also running a dangerous-to-seniors ad claiming Heck wishes to privatize Social Security. Heck actually supports allowing seniors to stay in the program while allowing younger workers to opt out of the entitlement and voluntarily assume all risk related to investing their withholdings themselves.
Dishonest as they are, these ads may prove effective—but some of the Titus attack tactics have led to sloppy errors that may appear overtly dishonest and cost her some points when Heck runs a few ads of his own.
Back in July, the Titus campaign was all over Joe Heck for allegedly not taking a stance on the extension of unemployment benefits. But Heck had done just that at the recent state GOP convention when he gave a rousing speech including a summary of his position on the issue:
You have to do what’s right for your citizens, and so certainly while I would have made an argument that we should have paid for the bill, and that would have been my hope. I, like the three representatives that are there now, would have voted in favor.
A few weeks later, the Titus campaign again got the facts wrong when it sent out an email blast saying Heck was “partying it up” at a concert event including “loud music and entertainers” with “his pal, ultra radical Sharron Angle” while Titus was “continuing to work hard for the residents of CD3.” But Heck was not at the concert with Angle. Instead, he was headed to Phoenix to greet soldiers returning home from deployment.
Polls show Heck and Titus in a dead heat but if the Titus campaign keeps playing dirty and sloppy, the numbers may soon start to go Heck’s way.