Newspaper column: Fight to replace Reid in Senate becoming a proxy war

Be careful with whom you pick a fight. They might fight back with some heavy artillery.

For years Harry Reid has been obsessively ranting and mewling about the wealthy Koch brothers, Charles and David, for deigning to spend their own money to express their free speech rights. He has pejoratively mentioned the brothers from the well of the Senate more than 130 times.

He even has a page on his official Senate website devoted to lambasting the brothers Koch. According to the 17 talking points on the page, the Kochs want to pollute the air, foul the water, dismantle Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare, minimum wage laws and public education.

Though the Koch brothers this election season are largely staying out of presidential politics, they are pouring money into Nevada in an effort to help a Republican capture Reid’s Senate seat, now that he is retiring. They have already spent $6 million backing Republican Rep. Joe Heck and attacking former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Reid’s hand-picked Democrat successor, according to ThinkProgess, a liberal website.

Heck and Cortez Masto (AP photo)

Heck and Cortez Masto (AP photo)

Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC that is part of the Koch brothers’ network, currently is spending more than $600,000 on a television ad accusing Cortez Masto of outsourcing legal work to a D.C. law firm that later contributed to her election campaign, calling her a special interest politician.

According to the latest polls, Heck and Cortez Masto are tied, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in Nevada by more than 70,000 registered voters.

A story in the Las Vegas newspaper recently reported that the Kochs’ Americans For Prosperity is working on a so-called ground game to challenge Reid’s vaunted army of union volunteers who bus casino workers to the polls with pre-selected sample ballots.

The Kochs are putting their money where their mouths are.

Reid seems to think that money alone will persuade people, but there also has to be believable content in the message. Reid has pounded the Kochs so often he sounds like a broken record. His criticism seems downright hypocritical when the Senate minority leader can call a press conference at the drop of a hat and get coverage from a vast majority of the broadcast and print media — without spending a dime.

It looks like a proxy war is now breaking out, with the Koch brothers’ independent support of Heck’s senatorial campaign becoming the target of a nearly million-dollar television ad campaign by a group called the League of Conservation Voters.

The ad makes a non sequitur attempt to somehow link the fact the Koch brothers’ got filthy rich in the oil business — while most of us just got filthy in the grease orchard, but that’s a story for another day — to an alleged antipathy on Heck’s part for renewable energy.

The ad claims Heck’s alleged favoritism toward oil risks Nevada wind and solar energy jobs, even though less than 1 percent of electricity in this country is produced with oil.

As for jobs, it is the League of Conservation Voters that is attacking jobs. According to its own website, it pushes for a tougher Endangered Species Act, which kills jobs, opposes drilling anywhere, which kills jobs, and wants to shut down any activity that contributes to carbon production, which kills jobs.

Heck sent out a press release countering the claims in the ad.

“While Dr. Heck has been a strong supporter of solar jobs in Nevada, including legislation to streamline renewable energy development across the state, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a DC-based partisan special interest that wants to put Nevadans out of work by stopping responsible mining, ranching, agriculture and recreation,” Heck spokesperson Brian Baluta said. “And, as Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto showed herself to be no friend of solar when she introduced a bill to exempt the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) from the open meeting law, allowing the PUC to raise rates behind closed doors. This bogus attack has nothing to do with clean energy and everything to do with installing Chuck Schumer as the next Senate Majority Leader.”

In fact, Heck has backed tax credits for wind and solar, which, frankly, drive up the cost of power and kills jobs. So, he’s no purist.

On the League’s scorecard Heck’s voting record agreed with its stances only 8 percent of the time, compared to Reid’s 81 percent. There’s a contrast Heck should be proud of.

It’s going to get ugly, folks.

Americans for Prosperity ad:

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.


20 comments on “Newspaper column: Fight to replace Reid in Senate becoming a proxy war

  1. Steve says:

    Oh, yes, ugly indeed.

  2. rincon says:

    At least the Koch brothers use their own money. Corporations use their shareholders’ money, often without the knowledge of many of those shareholders.

  3. Steve says:

    And Reid uses taxpayer money for his “news” conferences!

  4. rincon says:

    Part oft the incumbent advantage, but everyone may not see it that way. i hear claims that money really doesn’t influence election results.

  5. Steve says:

    Nope, money doesn’t.
    But it does pay the way for the mouths that DO influence elections!

  6. Barbara says:

    When Heck first ran for Congress, I supported him financially, made phone calls, and knocked on doors. I handed out literature for him at various public forums. Then he won and betrayed the conservative values he said he had. I have voiced my opposition to his liberal votes several times and have found his answers to be dismissive and condescending. In public he continues to hide behind a conservative veil. In private, he is disdainful of conservatives – at least this one. He was a complete John Boehner lackey.

  7. Barbara says:

    This article further documents Heck’s liberal voting record.

  8. Thomas Mitchell says:

    And your choice is?

  9. Steve says:

    Barbara, Joe Heck is representing a district so evenly divided he must do what is necessary in representing all his constituents.

    Believe it or not, Bernie Sanders was in the same place. He doesn’t support gun ownership but his constituents do. Bernie Sanders voted outside his own beliefs in favor of all the people he was elected to represent…doing that is difficult while keeping an eye on the base of support you are likely to disappoint.

    I still like Joe Heck and he has my vote for Senator.

  10. Barbara says:

    Like so many races this year, there is no acceptable choice. I understand what you are saying Steve about Heck representing his district. However, his response to my correspondence (admittedly maybe it was someone in his office) was condescending – going so far as to state I have very limited knowledge of the issue. I then received a lecture about his service as a physician in the military and questioned whether I had served my country. It was a very personal attack. I don’t see myself elevating him to the Senate, but I’ll watch the polls. Not sure what I would do if it remains close.

  11. Barbara says:

    I will also watch the polls in other states and if it is clear that Republicans will retain the Senate, there is no way I would vote for Heck. I would not vote for his opponent either.

  12. There is no way I would want Harry Reid, scurge of Nevada to install his hand picked replacement. So it’s in that spirit that I will definitely be casting my vote for Joe Heck. (Just as Mark Levin lamented that stopping Hillary is the primary objective in announcing that he will vote for Trump, the same principle is in play here…stopping Masto 3 Names is the primary objective, plain and simple).

  13. rincon says:

    “Nope, money doesn’t.
    But it does pay the way for the mouths that DO influence elections!”

    Would it be fair to say we’re splitting hairs here?

  14. Steve says:

    But, you raise an interesting thought….doesn’t it matter who’s mouth the money empowers?

  15. Rincon says:

    Not in principle. If 5% of the people have 95% of the voice, it doesn’t bode well for a government “by the people”.

  16. Steve says:

    Aren’t those 5% rather evenly distributed among political philosophies?

  17. Rincon says:

    You’re kidding, right? Almost all of these 5% are rich. The rich have a much different set of political priorities than the poor or middle class.

  18. Steve says:

    So, you are saying Buffet, Soros, Romney, Adeleson, Trujnp and the detested Koch’s all have exactly the same political views and all support exactly the same parties and people?

    I’m saying the 5% percent you so detest (while secretly wishing you were one of them) are people who are much the same as anyone else in many ways. Some of those ways are they all have independent political views and they support different political organizations and their money goes, just about equally, to all sides.
    In fact, in a lot of cases (mostly down ticket races) their money goes equally to all sides in hopes of some quid pro quo in return when any side wins the office in question.

    But their political philosophies are not all one and the same, as you seem to indicate.
    There are Democrats who are considered in the 5% as well as Republicans who are in the 5%. It’s just about equal, like the rest of the country. Almost equally divided.
    Just as there are non partisan people who would fit in the 5% mold you seem to have built up for them.

  19. Anonymous says:

    So a few rich folks donate to liberals. Big deal. As is well known, incumbents have a huge advantage over challengers, at least in Congress. These legislators aren’t relying on nickels and dimes from constituents. I believe that businesses, unions and business associations contribute the most. Even when donating to a liberal, businesses expect and get political favors in return for their largesse. Unfortunately, since much political money is effectively shielded from view by law, there’s no good way to find out how much is being given to each “team”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s