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By Riley Snyder June 3, 2016

Notwithstanding bunnies & Reagan, new Sharron Angle ad incorrectly links opponent with Democrats

In a television ad invoking Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump and bunnies, repeat U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle is on the attack against her primary opponent and the race’s presumed frontrunner, Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck.

After reading a Reagan quote about rabbits and tigers, Angle’s ad accuses Heck of aligning with Democrats a majority of the time.

"Congressman Joe Heck has been a D.C. rabbit for the past five years, voting 62 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats on a variety of important issues," Angle says in the ad.

The ad is certainly a provocative shot with Nevada’s primary election quickly approaching and Angle trailing in polls, so we were interested in seeing just how often Heck ended up on the same side as the House’s Democratic leader.


Angle’s campaign referred to Heck’s 39 percent "Liberty Score" ranking on the Conservative Review website as support for the ad. The group calculates the score though 50 "top" votes through a rolling six-year window.

The website hasn’t been Heck’s biggest fan, with the site’s editor-in-chief Mark Levin endorsing Angle and releasing a video saying he "opposed conservative values on most issues of importance."

Heck’s campaign spokesman, Brian Baluta, didn’t comment on Conservative Review’s rating but called the ad "absurd on its face."

So under that narrow set of criteria, Heck and Pelosi (with an 11 percent Liberty Score) appear to have relatively similar positions.

However, Heck’s overall voting record is nowhere close to being as aligned to Pelosi as the ad suggests.

A CQ Roll Call query shows Heck and Pelosi voting together roughly 31 percent of the time since the Republican entered Congress in 2011.

The percentage is even worse for the most recent congressional session — the two only matched up on 25 percent of roll call votes.

Other conservative-leaning groups tend to rank Heck somewhere in the middle of Republican House members, with ranking Pelosi much lower.

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Heritage Action Fund, which grades congressional members on conservative votes, bill co-sponsorships and other legislative activity, gives Heck a 53 percent rating and Pelosi a 16 percent rating.

It’s a similar tale with Club for Growth’s legislative scorecard, which gives Heck a 58 percent lifetime score and Pelosi a measly 6 percent score.

The American Conservative Union gives Heck a lifetime 64 percent ranking on their scorecard, while Pelosi has a lifetime 2.7 percent lifetime ranking over her congressional career.

The ad also shows several rabbits with Heck’s face imposed, seeming to imply that Heck agrees with Pelosi on issues like gun control, Obamacare and amnesty for people not legally in the country.

That’s also not the case, as a quick overview of Heck’s record plants him squarely in the Republican orthodoxy on many of the issues that Angle’s ad references.

  • Gun control: Heck has a strong pro-gun record — he’s been endorsed by the National Rifle Association every time he’s run for office, and he voted in favor of the only gun-related legislation considered by the Conservative Review.

  • Amnesty: Though it’s somewhat of a loaded term, Heck has publicly stated support for a pathway to citizenship for people not legally in the country. The Republican congressman has said he doesn’t agree with presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to deport the roughly 11 million people not legally in the country.

  • Obamacare: Heck — a licensed physician — is generally opposed to the Affordable Care Act and has joined House Republicans in dozens of unsuccessful attempts to repeal all or part of the law. Conservative Review only considers four votes related to health care, including bipartisan legislation increasing Veteran’s Administration spending and an expansion of a grant program for veterinarians.

  • Draft women: This claim is a bit more recent. Heck joined several Democrats in supporting a provision that would require women to begin registering with the Selective Service System for possible involuntary military service. The amendment was killed in a procedural maneuver in May, replaced with a requirement to study future potential needs for a broader military draft system.

Our ruling

An Angle ad claims Heck has voted 62 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats on a variety of important issues."

Under the narrow parameters of the Conservative Review’s "Liberty Score," Heck and Pelosi do appear to share similar policy priorities. But that only takes into account 50 votes over a six-year period. Other conservative groups with legislative scorecards show a much wider gap between the two, and a review of their cumulative voting records shows a much larger gap in votes.

This claim is inaccurate. We rate it Mostly False.

Our Sources

Phone and email interviews with Todd Bailey, Sharron Angle spokesman, June 2, 2016

Heritage Action For America Scorecard, accessed June 2, 2016

The Club for Growth Congressional Scorecard, accessed June 2, 2016

Email interview with Brian Baluta, Joe Heck campaign spokesman, June 1, 2016

CQ analysis, Heck and Pelosi vote comparison 2011-present, accessed June 1, 2016

Heritage Action For America scorecard, accessed June 1, 2016

Club for Growth legislative scorecard, accessed June 1, 2016

YouTube, "Run Sharron Angle For US Senate," May 25, 2016

Roll Call, "House Stands Down on Women in the Draft," May 17, 2016

Conservative Review, "Watch: Meet the Real Joe Heck: What Has the Nevada Rep Done for Conservatives?" May 10, 2016

Military Times, "House panel votes to make women register for the draft," April 28, 2016

The Hill, "Nevada Republican enjoys 56-point lead on primary rival," April 15, 2016

PolitiFact, "Do Alaska Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski vote together 80 percent of the time?" July 17, 2014

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More by Riley Snyder

Notwithstanding bunnies & Reagan, new Sharron Angle ad incorrectly links opponent with Democrats

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