Trump Backers Furious at Dean Heller

New York Times: “The political fallout from Heller’s high-profile news conference a week ago offers a vivid illustration of the new fault lines on the right in the Trump era. After years of fierce clashing between Republican hard-liners and mainstream conservatives, the purity-versus-pragmatist wars have given way to a new, Trump-centered debate that highlights how fully the president has taken over the party.”

Pro-Trump Group Warns Senators to Fall In Line

Politico: “A new campaign by top White House allies targeting the GOP’s most vulnerable senator over health care sends a loud message to those resistant to the Trump agenda: We’re coming after you.”

“The offensive is aimed at both punishing Heller and at swaying his vote, and it is a stunning act of political retaliation against a member of the president’s own party – one who faces a perilous path to re-election in 2018. Senior Republicans, many of whom are deeply worried about Heller’s political standing and increasingly nervous about the midterms, were shocked and spent the weekend measuring the possible fallout.”

Meanwhile, Mike Allen reports that the group funding the ads “is giving Heller a chance to modify his blast at the bill, before unleashing an advertising attack in his home state.”

Pro-Trump Group Targets Heller

“A pro-Trump outside group is launching an advertising blitz against Republican Sen. Dean Heller over his opposition to the health care repeal bill — a bold act of political retaliation against a member of the president’s own party,” Politico reports.

“Heller, a Nevada Republican, is up for re-election in 2018 and is seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection this cycle.”

Heller Says He Won’t Support GOP Health Bill

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) said that “he cannot support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health-care bill without changes to it, becoming the fifth GOP senator to take that position since the bill was released,” the Washington Post reports.

“Heller, who is up for reelection in 2018, has expressed concerns about the way the measure addresses the future of Medicaid. The proposal would impose long-term federal spending cuts on the program.”

Said Heller: “I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.”

Heller Gets a Challenger

Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) plans to run against Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) for his Senate seat in Nevada, Politico reports.

“Heller is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2018 and is the only GOP senator this cycle who represents a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. A Public Policy Polling survey released Monday had Heller receiving just 39% of the vote if the match-up were held today against a generic Democrat, who earned 46% of support among Nevada voters.”

Democrats Launch Early Attacks on Two Senators

“Liberals are already beginning to target Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)) and Dean Heller (R-NV) with attack ads as Democrats look to soften up their only two realistic targets ahead of a difficult 2018 Senate map,” The Hill reports.

“Democrats are starting GOP attacks early in a cycle where they’re mostly playing defense and trying to block Republicans from flipping enough seats to achieve a 60-seat, filibuster-proof Senate majority. Republicans are defending just eight seats in 2018, while Democrats are defending 23 seats, plus another two held by independent allies.”

Sharron Angle Mulls Another Senate Bid

“Nevada conservative Sharron Angle (R) says she’s trying to determine if she could raise enough money to run for the U.S. Senate again, a move that could throw a wrench in Republicans’ hopes to claim Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s soon-to-be-vacant seat,” the AP reports.

“The tea party darling won the Republican nomination in a divisive three-way primary in 2010, then lost to Reid in the general election, 50% to 45%.”

GOP Moves to Head Off Angle Challenge

Sharron Angle’s (R) “very public flirtation with a primary bid against Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), the party favorite to take on Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto (D), is reviving Democratic dreams and Republican nightmares from the 2010 election,” Politico reports.

“Angle — along with lackluster candidates Christine O’Donnell and Ken Buck — blew a winnable race for the GOP, and her name still causes eyerolls among Republicans of all stripes. And now that Republicans finally control the Senate, they aren’t about to let Angle screw things up.”