The stories and headlines say it all. After trying to take every side of any issue, voters have learned one thing about Dean Heller: they can’t trust him. He’s in a “no-win situation” and only has himself to blame.
NBC’s Meet The Press: Cooper: Heller “Did Look Like He Was In A Hostage Video” On Healthcare.
New York Times: Health Law Repeal Leaves Nevada Republican Torn Between Lawmakers. “Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, is the man everyone wants. This has not been a good thing for him…On Friday Mr. Heller said that he, too, was against the bill as it is currently drafted, leaving himself just enough wiggle room to continue his longstanding practice of being the senator in the middle, the man who wants to see the Medicaid program phased out, except when he decides he doesn’t. (Mr. Heller has taken both positions publicly.) He has also voted to take away money from Planned Parenthood, but tells some select audiences that “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood…Now he in this position of his own making,’ Mr. Ralston said, ‘pressed by Trump people on one side, so he has a base problem, while the other side is running the most relentless digital protest campaign on any piece of legislation I have ever seen in this state…“The threat on Mr. Heller’s right flank is real, as shown by former Representative Joe Heck, who during his race for a Senate seat in Nevada last year openly opposed Mr. Trump. Conservative voters stayed home and Mr. Heck lost to a Democrat.”
The Nevada Independent Opinion: Ralston: Why Dean Heller will not be re-elected. It’s hard to feel sympathy for Heller, who created many of his own problems because he is afflicted with Non-Straight-Answer Disorder. To wit: He told The Hill that he supports a seven-year Medicaid phase-out, then his staff initially refused to confirm it to the Reno Gazette Journal (before they did) and then he told KSNV that he would have chosen the outer end of whatever time frame he was given. Why he could not say – and he still did not Friday — that he opposes a phase-out of any kind is unfathomable. (Ending the federal funding would destroy the state budget.) Politics is no different than life: If you try to please everyone, you please no one.”
Washington Post: TV ads flood Nevada to win a Republican senator’s health-care vote. “Progressive groups, pro-Trump PACs and interest groups dead set against the Republicans’ health-care bill have scrambled onto Nevada’s TV stations and news sites to lobby Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)..Two more ads were even more apocalyptic. One, from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, portrayed parents selling off their belongings to pay for a child in a hospital bed.”
Wall Street Journal: Nevada Senator’s Opposition to Health Bill Highlights Political Pressures. “An energized Democratic base has mobilized against Mr. Heller. Hecklers have disrupted private events and greeted his public appearances. On the airwaves, outside groups including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, AARP, a coalition of hospitals, and the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm have hammered him with millions of dollars in negative advertising focused on health care…Mr. Heller’s decision on Friday..risk inflaming Nevada’s Republican base by arguably standing in the way of a seven-year GOP promise to uproot the 2010 health law…At a town hall event in April, he was confronted by Planned Parenthood activists, some in birth-control costumes, and pledged he would ‘protect’ the organization from federal funding cuts. But he appeared to walk back that comment during the event, and his spokeswoman clarified later that Mr. Heller opposed ‘providing federal funding to any organization that performs abortions.’”
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Steve Sebelius: Once again, we’re wondering: Does Dean Heller support Planned Parenthood? “Heller has already gotten himself in trouble with respect to Planned Parenthood, telling a Reno town hall audience that ‘I will protect Planned Parenthood,’ and that “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood.’ His spokeswoman, Megan Taylor, quickly told reporters that Heller actually does have a problem with Planned Parenthood and does not support federal funding for the group…Heller’s comment is the equivalent of a person saying, ‘Look, I do not have a problem with McDonald’s. I’m not opposed to McDonald’s. What I’m opposed to is any group or organization or restaurant that regularly sells hamburgers. That’s my position…So, maybe, the next time somebody asks Heller if he’ll support a bill that cuts federal funding for Planned Parenthood, he should just say ‘yes’? That seems like it would save everybody some time.”
New York Times: Republican Senator Vital to Health Bill’s Passage Won’t Support It. “The Senate Democratic campaign arm, which Mr. Van Hollen chairs, plan to increase its spending this week on internet ads focused on the health measure in Nevada and Arizona, as well as Texas and Florida, which also have Senate races in 2018. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is just one of a series of liberal groups that are airing spots — online and on television and radio — to pressure up-for-grabs Senate Republicans into opposing the overhaul…“After vowing for the last seven years to tear up what they call Obamacare, congressional Republicans and President Trump are under pressure from their conservative base to fulfill their campaign trail promises. But Republican lawmakers in swing states face an excruciating choice: risk angering their grassroots supporters by walking away from the repeal effort or expose themselves to ferocious Democratic attacks by pushing through a deeply unpopular bill…Mr. Heller did not rule out ultimately voting for a version of the bill, leaving the battle for 50 votes ahead of a Senate showdown still very alive.”
Las Vegas Review Journal: Joecks: “This is a no-win situation for Heller, who’s running for re-election in 2018.”
NBC’s Meet The Press Daily: Hugh Hewitt: “Dean Heller is an ex-Senator if he votes against this bill.”
National Journal: Dean Heller Faces a Devilish Political Choice. “Dean Heller faces a political catch-22: If he follows through on the GOP’s top priority for the past seven years — repealing and replacing Obamacare —he will be putting his political career on the line…If Heller votes for the Senate health care bill unveiled Thursday, the senator from Nevada can tell his Republican base that he delivered on the party’s carinal promise. But the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, is deeply unpopular in his state because it would eventually claw back Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, which has extended health insurance to upwards of 200,000 low-income people in Nevada…“Democrats are wagering that Heller’s decision could cost him his seat in 2018…The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee believes that Heller will lose moderate and independent voters in the state if he votes for the bill, and it targeted the senator in online ads… Nevada Democrats have organized a phone bank, press conference, and protest in recent weeks, and they are making the argument that the bill’s tax cuts will help the wealthiest, such as Nevada billionaire and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson. Meanwhile the AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit lobby for the elderly, and organizations such as Save My Care and the Community Catalyst Action Fund have aired TV and radio ads pressuring Heller to vote against the emerging bill.”
The Hill: Healthcare vote puts Heller in a bind. “If Heller opposes the plan too loudly, he’ll expose himself to a primary election challenge. But if he’s seen as too close to it, he’ll lose the moderates who backed Clinton in 2016.”
Reno Gazette Journal: Heller faces increased pressure in run up to health care bill release. “As Republicans in the U.S. Senate prepare to unveil language on their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is falling under increased pressure to reject many of the changes already passed by the U.S. House…As recently as Tuesday, Heller dodged a national political reporter’s question on the issue by saying ‘this paper in Reno will distort whatever I tell you.’”
Washington Post Right Turn: Things just got worse for the GOP’s weakest senator. “Heller is widely seen as the weakest Republican senator on the ballot in 2018, perhaps the weakest incumbent in either party. Recently he has reluctantly signaled his agreement to roll back Medicaid expansion over a seven-year period. However, in a state where Medicaid enrollment rose 90 percent since 2013 and the rate of uninsured residents dropped by 28 percent from 2013 to 2015, Trumpcare is going to be unpopular. Sure enough, according to one polling methodology, Nevada voters oppose the American Health Care Act by a 53 to 28 percent margin.”