Heck in the crossfire

A year-and-a-half before the 2012 elections, we already have political crossfire in Nevada’s swing congressional district.

Crossroads GPS, the big money Republican-linked political action committee, began running radio ads in Las Vegas today defending Rep. Joe Heck and rapping Democrats over federal spending.   The counterattack comes three days after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an attack on the freshman lawmaker from the Henderson-based Third Congressional District.

Similar skirmishes between Crossroads GPS and the DCCC are taking place today in 18 other districts considered potential battlegrounds in 2012.

The 60-second Crossroads ad, which will run through next Tuesday, says “Washington liberals like Nancy Pelosi still aren’t listening” to voters who want to cut spending, and “Pelosi’s gang” attacked Heck “for trying to fix the budget mess.”

Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio, said the group bought $6,600 in airtime for the ad in Las Vegas, and $90,000 overall, while he challenged the Democrats over how much they have committed to their campaign against Heck and other GOP lawmakers.

“Our inquiries to radio stations in their 19 districts made it appear that their entire ad buy totaled less than $10k,” he said in an email. “They appear to have spent about $450 per district.”

"So Crossroads GPS decided to push back with real buys in all of those 19 districts,” Collegio said.

Other Republican sources checking with media buyers said the Las Vegas ad buy was only $700.

The Democrats’ radio ad seeks to link Heck to potential cuts in education and research, saying they could cost “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The DCCC did not confirm how much it spent in the Las Vegas market. But it pointed out that Crossroads was affiliated with Karl Rove, who was President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist, and that it was organized in a way to raise money without disclosing its sources.

The “special interest-funded shadowy outside group” spent $40 million on campaigns last year, the Democrats said.

Crossroads GPS by law cannot coordinate its actions with Heck, and a spokesman for the lawmaker said he was unaware of the ad until it ran.

Heck was staying out of the fray. “He is focused on doing the job he was elected to do,” spokesman Darren Littell said.

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