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September 30, 2014

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Democrats attack Rep. Joe Heck on immigration in Spanish-language ad

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

This online Spanish-language ad by Democrats attacking Republican Rep. Joe Heck on immigration reads: Failure! Congressman Joe Heck is part of the problem, and his leaders are hurting our Dreamers. He’s failing our community. Shame on him!

Joe Heck

Joe Heck

Republican Rep. Joe Heck may have sided with Democrats on a contentious immigration vote Friday, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from attacking him today.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats' official campaign arm, is airing an online Spanish-language ad in the district today attacking Heck’s positions on immigration.

The DCCC’s first Spanish web ad this election year attempts to tie Heck to House Republican leaders, who haven’t brought immigration reform to a vote.

“Failure! Congressman Joe Heck is part of the problem, and his leaders are hurting our Dreamers. He’s failing our community. Shame on him!” the ad says.

The DCCC doesn’t release how much it spends on ads or how long they’ll run. Heck, a two-term Republican up for re-election Nov. 4 to represent Henderson and Boulder City, is facing a challenge from Democratic activist and political adviser Erin Bilbray.

Heck has called for immigration reform and drafted a bill to provide a path to citizenship for some young immigrants. But House Republicans aren’t making his life easy by taking what some classify as anti-immigration-reform votes.

On Friday, Heck joined his colleagues in the House to approve about $650 million in emergency funds to deal with an influx of mostly Central American children crossing illegally into the country, significantly less than President Barack Obama’s request or $3.7 billion.

Heck said he supported the House’s more measured approach.

He then joined Democrats as one of 11 Republicans to vote against a proposal to halt the president’s program to stop deporting some young immigrants in the country illegally, know as Dreamers. (Rep. Mark Amodei, a Northern Nevada Republican, also voted against the proposal.)

It was a reversal from Heck’s vote last year to end Obama’s program for Dreamers. Heck said Congress should instead take up legislation to fix the problem. But on Friday, he said he couldn’t “in good conscience” support an ambiguously written bill that might not allow Dreamers currently in the program to renew.

Democrats are facing an uphill battle in the district, according to two respected nonpartisan rating systems, but spinning the debate to immigration may play to their advantage.

A June poll by Washington, D.C., advocacy group FWD.us showed pro-immigration-reform Republicans like Heck could be vulnerable to attacks that tie them to House Republican leaders.

Other organizations, like the Service Employees International Union, are running Spanish-language ads against Heck as well.

Heck said his voting record on immigration rebuts those attacks.

“I’m getting a lot of blame for immigration reform not passing and maybe I’m biased on this, but, quite honestly, I don’t think I deserve the blame,” he said.

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