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Pro-Trump PAC pulls ads pressuring Dean Heller on health care vote

Updated June 27, 2017 - 6:09 pm

A political nonprofit run by former campaign advisers of President Donald Trump says it has pulled a $1 million ad campaign launched Tuesday against Nevada’s Republican Sen. Dean Heller.

Heller had found himself in the political crosshairs of his own party after he announced on Friday that he would not vote for the Obamacare repeal plan put forth by Senate Republicans.

The group, America First Policies, launched television and radio ads in Nevada Tuesday as part of an ad campaign against Heller to pressure him into switching his vote. But after Heller and other Senate Republicans met with Trump Tuesday, the group said it was pulling the ads.

“America First Policies is pleased to learn that Senator Dean Heller has decided to come back to the table to negotiate with his colleagues on the Senate bill,” the group said in statement. “We have pulled the ads we released earlier today in Nevada, and we remain hopeful that Senator Heller and his colleagues can agree on what the American people already know: that repealing and replacing Obamacare must happen for America to move forward and be great again.”

Heller’s office did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The PAC originally purchased more than $100,000 worth of air time on Nevada television stations for 30-second ads attacking Heller’s opposition. Some of the ads had already aired in Las Vegas and Reno Tuesday.

“Now with strong strong leadership and a real chance to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered care that protects American families, Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘no,’” the ad says before telling viewers to call Heller and tell him to “keep his promise” and vote to for the bill.

The PAC said on Friday it was planning to spend $1 million in its campaign to pressure Heller into voting for the bill. It launched shorter digital ads over the weekend also aimed at pressuring Heller.

During a joint press conference with Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday, Heller excoriated the Republican health care bill, saying it would do nothing to lower premiums and would leave too many Nevadans without insurance coverage.

Heller is one of nine Republican senators to come out in opposition to the bill. With Senate Democrats united in opposing the bill, Republicans can only afford to have two “no” votes from its own caucus.

Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said the ads against Heller show that while Democrats are united in opposition to repeal of the ACA, Republicans are divided and on defense over health care.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, announced Tuesday that the vote on the health care bill, originally expected this week, would be delayed until after the July 4 congressional recess.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Gary Martin contributed to this story.

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