Las Vegas Sun

January 29, 2015

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Truth Squad:

Heller ad doesn’t paint factual picture of Derby

Republican Rep. Dean Heller is attacking Democrat Jill Derby in new TV ads, suggesting his opponent in the race for the 2nd Congressional District is a “career politician” and a “liberal.”

The Script

Announcer: “Jill Derby claims to be an independent outsider, not a career politician. Really?”

Derby: “Serving 18 years on the Nevada Board of Regents, Nevada’s elected board ...”

Narrator: “After a failed campaign for Congress, she stayed in politics and was elected chair of the Nevada Democratic Party.”

Derby: “Built an incredible network of Democratic activists ...”

Narrator: “Eighteen years in office. Political boss. Liberal activist.”

Derby: “We need to give career politicians the boot.”

Narrator: “She’s right. We don’t need another liberal activist in Washington.”

The Video

Picture of Derby with the phrase, “An independent outsider?” Grainy clips of Derby speaking at the July convention of Netroots Nation, a group of liberal bloggers. The words “liberal,” “Democrat,” “18 years,” “elected,” scroll along the screen over her face.

The Reality

Implying Derby, a former college instructor and education consultant, is a “career politician” is false.

It’s true that Derby, 68, served 18 years as an elected member of the Board of Regents, which sets policy for Nevada’s higher education system. But the office is part-time, nonpartisan and unpaid. Her position as chairwoman of the state party, which she occupied for less than a year, was also unpaid.

Calling Derby a “liberal activist” is questionable.

She has been endorsed by the Blue Dog Democrats, a fiscally conservative group. She also says she favors some expanded oil drilling and has received an A- from the National Rifle Association.

Before he was elected to Congress, Heller, 48, served 12 years as Nevada’s elected secretary of state, one of Nevada’s five constitutional officers, with operational responsibilities and a staff of about 135.

The verdict

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