This is my second blog about the republican Senator Dean Heller from Nevada who has stirred the ire of conservative big monies which fund pro-Trump pacs like America First Policies, and the president’s ardent followers, bigly. He is the one republican who at a crucial time in pushing the Senate’s version Trumpcare for passage before July 4, 2017, ACTED TO CONDEMN IT which killed any chance for its survival.
This is a perfect case study to demonstrate what can happen when a party member dares to stand up to its leaders to do what is right for the peoples of his state. It is not a pretty picture.
The following story describes the hell he is suffering for daring to put the well-being of his constituents first, before party loyalty.
On June 30, 2017, Jonathan Martin and Kenneth P. Vogel of the New York Times penned the following report, “Trump Backers ‘Furious’ That Senator Stood Against Health Care Bill.”
“Senator Dean Heller’s biting denunciation of the Republican health care bill last week infuriated the White House and helped unravel his party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act days before a vote was expected in the Senate”
“Now Mr. Heller is facing an intense backlash in Nevada, his home state, where there is talk of a primary race challenge against him next year and a pair of the state’s wealthiest Republican donors are fuming.”
“America First Policies, a nonprofit group created to back President Trump’s agenda, suspended its advertising campaign against Mr. Heller after he agreed to attend a West Wing meeting on the health bill and after a group of Republican senators in attendance complained about the commercials. But Mr. Heller, perhaps the most vulnerable Republican senator on the ballot next year, has by no means escaped the wrath of Mr. Trump and his vocal supporters, including two billionaire casino magnates, Sheldon G. Adelson and Steve Wynn.”
“All of the Trump supporters I talk to are furious with Heller,” said Danny Tarkanian, the son of the legendary Nevada basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian and a frequent Republican candidate for office in the state. Mr. Tarkanian said he was considering taking on the senator next year and had been encouraged to do so by some of the president’s ardent grass-roots admirers.”
“The political fallout from Mr. Heller’s high-profile news conference a week ago offers a vivid illustration of the new fault lines on the right in the Trump era. After years of fierce clashing between Republican hard-liners and mainstream conservatives, the purity-versus-pragmatist wars have given way to a new, Trump-centered debate that highlights how fully the president has taken over the party.”
“On the other hand, Mr. Heller faces enormous grass-roots pressure to stand his ground against the bill. He has clung tightly to his state’s popular Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, a staunch opponent of the repeal who accepted the Medicaid expansion dollars in the Affordable Care Act. More than 200,000 Nevadans have gained insurance through Medicaid since the passage of the health law.”
“What angered the Republican rank and file about Mr. Heller’s critique was not so much his unease with the compromise Senate legislation — a measure that many on the far right are also displeased with — but that he would so purposefully undermine the president’s agenda.”
Mr. Adelson and Mr. Wynn, two of Las Vegas’s leading gambling titans, each contacted Mr. Heller at the request of the White House last week to complain about his opposition to the Republican-written health overhaul, according to multiple Republican officials.
One ally of Mr. Heller’s acknowledged that Mr. Adelson and Mr. Wynn were unhappy with the senator at the moment and that their relationship needed some repair work.
Both billionaire donors are close to Mr. Trump, a fellow tycoon. Mr. Adelson played a pivotal role in Mr. Trump’s election, showering Republican groups last year with tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Wynn is the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and oversaw a fund-raiser on Wednesday at the president’s Washington hotel that Mr. Trump said raised about $7 million for the party committee and his re-election campaign.
Earlier that day, America First Policies held a donor meeting for those who were in the capital for that evening’s fund-raiser. Every contributor who raised the issue of the anti-Heller campaign — an extraordinary offensive against a vulnerable senator in one’s own party — said they approved of the attacks, according to an attendee.
Ronald M. Cameron, a major Republican donor who gave the maximum $5,400 donation to Mr. Heller’s re-election campaign this year, said he would consider investing in primary race challenges to Republican lawmakers who oppose the health care bill or other White House legislative priorities.
“I might support a challenger, and would certainly withhold support from someone that I thought was against Trump’s agenda,” said Mr. Cameron, an Arkansas poultry magnate who donated more than $2 million to committees supporting Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and attended the Wednesday fund-raiser for his re-election.
Mr. Cameron — who was solicited by America First but said he had not donated to the group — said that he was not familiar with the group’s ads against Mr. Heller, but that he did not object to the idea of publicly calling out lawmakers who oppose the health care bill.
Mr. Trump himself, while acknowledging the complaints of the Republican senators at the White House meeting, has in other private sessions with his aides and allies made clear that he very much approved of the onslaught against Mr. Heller. At the wedding of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Saturday and then again in the White House this week, he told advisers that he supported the ad blitz, according to multiple Republican officials who have spoken to the president.
“Officials with America First insist that Mr. Trump and the White House staff all supported their decision to target Mr. Heller. But there has been some unease in the administration over the strategy, which created a significant rift with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and other Republican senators at the very moment they were trying to forge consensus around the repeal bill.”
“At least one White House official sought to halt the attacks out of fear that alienating Mr. Heller would carry adverse ramifications well beyond the health debate. The Nevada senator is a crucial vote not only in the chamber — where Republicans have a bare, two-seat majority — but also on the finance and banking committees. The two panels have jurisdiction over legislative priorities like tax cuts and presidential appointments.”
“Close advisers to Mr. Heller say he is open to eventually supporting the legislation, if significant changes are made.”
“In a statement, the (senator’s spokesperson) said that Mr. Heller “continues to engage with his colleagues, leadership, and the administration to discuss what Nevada needs to see in this bill.” But, she said, “It’s not about Senator Heller getting to a yes, it’s about improving the legislation so that it achieves his goals of lowering costs and protecting Nevada’s most vulnerable.”
“Mr. Trump and Mr. Heller have little in the way of a relationship. The senator never supported the president’s campaign, and Mr. Trump identifies him with a larger group of Nevada Republicans, including Mr. Sandoval, who either remained on the sidelines throughout 2016 or spurned him in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tape disclosure last October.”
“The day after Mr. Trump was revealed to have boasted on that tape about sexually assaulting women, a pair of Republican lawmakers in Nevada made a show of abandoning their party nominee at a rally outside Las Vegas. In doing so, Representative Joe Heck, who was running for the Senate, and Representative Cresent Hardy, who was seeking re-election, enraged Mr. Trump’s supporters.”
“Both lost their campaigns, making Nevada a rare bright spot in an otherwise lackluster year for Democrats.”
“To Nevada conservatives, it was an instructive moment — and one they said Mr. Heller appears not to have learned a lesson from.”
“He’s making a tragic mistake that I thought had already been learned by the G.O.P. delegation in Nevada,” said Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative talk show host and columnist in Las Vegas. “When you abandon Trump, you don’t get one Democrat, but you lose Republicans.”
“Both Mr. Root and Chuck Muth, another Nevada-based conservative activist, said they had been inundated with emails and calls from grass-roots Republicans who are angry about Mr. Heller. But whether that fury translates into a viable primary race challenge is far from certain. The senator will have significant financial support from his allies in Washington, and there is no obvious Republican opponent on the horizon. Mr. Tarkanian said he was also eyeing another run for the House seat he narrowly lost last year.”
“Another potential challenger, the state treasurer, Dan Schwartz, said he was likely to run for governor and has signaled to Mr. Heller through intermediaries that he will not take on the senator.”
“He will pay some price, but I just don’t think it’s realistic,” Mr. Schwartz said, citing the money needed to challenge Mr. Heller. “He’s in a tight spot, but I don’t think it’s dire.”