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September 15, 2014

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AFSCME ad against Joe Heck full of inaccuracies

A Democratic-leaning labor union is rehashing two-year-old claims against Republican House candidate Joe Heck to try to boost support for Democratic incumbent Dina Titus.

But the $750,000-ad buy may end up hurting Titus more than it helps her. The claims in the AFSCME commercial are false.

Sun columnist Jon Ralston called the ad the most inaccurate so far this election cycle and accused AFSCME of "blatant fear mongering.”

The TV spot accuses Heck of being dangerous to women. It claims he voted against a cervical cancer vaccine because "women wouldn't need it if they didn't engage in risky behavior." It also maintains that Heck wants to privatize Social Security.

Both are untrue.

Heck did vote against requiring insurance companies to cover a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a precursor to cervical cancer, but he never voted against a cervical cancer vaccine. Heck said he opposed the HPV bill because he didn't want to force insurance companies to take on more mandates that could drive up the cost of insurance.

State Democrats used a similar attack on Heck during his 2008 bid for state Senate. While the claims were widely denounced as false and misleading, Heck lost the election.

As for Social Security, Heck wants to institute a voluntary option to allow people to choose to invest their money in diverse markets. Employers would continue to contribute to the existing Social Security system.

"It's a desperate attempt to distract voters from Dina Titus' record of choosing Washington special interests over the interests of Nevadans," Heck spokeswoman Mari Nakashima said of the ads. "Members of AFSCME should be ashamed and embarrassed that their union dues have been cheapened by lies."

AFSCME Deputy Political Director Ricky Feller said the union stands behind the accuracy of its commercial. A Titus spokesman said he did not think the ad would hurt Titus.

But the Heck campaign already is capitalizing on the inaccuracies. Consider the message that went out to supporters today, courtesy of Heck campaign manager Grant Hewitt.

The AFSCME ad "is so heinous, so factually inaccurate, so Dina Titus," Hewitt wrote.

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