Concerned Women for America president: “Disappointed doesn't even begin to cover the reaction our members in Nevada will have when we inform them of Heller's new position.”
Erick Erickson: “Dean Heller must be defeated by either a better Republican or a Democrat.”
Carson City, NV – When Republican Senator Dean Heller told his town hall audience in Reno yesterday that he has “no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood,” he wasn’t just lying to his constituents about his record — Heller also enraged people like Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance and conservative blogger Erick Erickson.
This morning, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan said on MSNBC that one leading conservative told him Senator Heller is “out of his mind” and will face “extreme blowback” because of his statements. Anti-choice groups have already been calling out Heller on Twitter. Of course, this isn’t the first time this year that Heller’s spineless equivocating has prompted this kind of angry backlash from within his own party.
“Senator Heller loves flip-flopping to placate his audience, but he must not have thought through what the fallout would be if he tried to suddenly rewrite his record on Planned Parenthood,” said Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Stewart Boss. “Nevada voters who care about protecting women’s health care won’t forget that Senator Heller voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood, vocally opposed the organization’s federal funding, and just cast the deciding vote to give states the ability to defund Planned Parenthood clinics. Dean Heller has never really had a core, but this is a lose-lose political nightmare for Washington’s laziest Republican Senator.”
April 17, 2017, 11:00pm
Dean Heller, the Republican Senator from Nevada, today began his re-election pivot. The group he threw under the bus? Babies. Dean Heller told a townhall meeting he would protect Planned Parenthood and he has “no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood spends millions attacking Republicans and will no doubt attack Heller anyway. But he does not care. It is really telling that Heller chose to throw babies and social conservatives under the bus in the name of winning his re-election.
We should not lift a finger to help him. We might as well cede the race to the Democrats. But before we go to that point we should mount a strong challenge to Heller in the Republican primary to ensure he either is replaced by a better Republican or is weakened so much that he loses to a Democrat.
It is important that we draw a line in the sand on funding Planned Parenthood. We should use Dean Heller as an example. Any Republican who crosses that line should be driven from office so that none of them dare do it.
Dean Heller must be defeated by either a better Republican or a Democrat.
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republicans running for re-election in 2018, made enemies of social conservatives Monday afternoon when he defended Planned Parenthood in a rowdy town hall meeting in Reno.
Heller's two eyebrow-raising quotes:
- "I will protect Planned Parenthood."
- "I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood."
Social conservatives will campaign against Heller: I emailed a few top sources to get an early read on how movement leaders are reacting to Heller's comments. Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, reflected the majority sentiment: "I am very disappointed to read this and disappointed doesn't even begin to cover the reaction our members in Nevada will have when we inform them of Heller's new position."
Political backdrop: While he's previously opposed Planned Parenthood funding, it shouldn't be so surprising that Heller is charting a new course. He's very attuned to the fact that Nevada is a swing state and that he needs to vote down the middle. Practically speaking, Heller's support (or not) for Planned Parenthood will only count if Republicans manage to resuscitate Trumpcare, as that's the only legislative vehicle that people think can be used to defund the abortion provider.