U.S. Sen. Dean Heller attended a fundraiser in Los Angeles Wednesday night hosted by Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin and Hollywood’s major studios less than two weeks after the Republican senator attacked his Democratic opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen, for scheduling a fundraiser in Hollywood with actress Jane Fonda and other celebrities.
Heller, who was spotted by a Democratic tracker leaving the event, was slated to attend the fundraiser at the home of pollster and public opinion expert Frank Luntz alongside two of his Republican Senate colleagues, Cory Gardner from Colorado and Thom Tillis from North Carolina, according to Variety, which first reported on the fundraiser. Tickets to be on the host committee were priced at $20,000, with money from the event benefiting the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the magazine said.
The MPAA has traditionally donated to both Democratic and Republican candidates, although Variety noted that the event came on the heels of the passage of the tax reform bill in December, which Hollywood studios lobbied heavily for.
Rosen was slated to attend an April 20 fundraiser at the home of Hollywood philanthropists Leslie and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie and hosted by actresses Jane Fonda and Connie Britton and television producer Marcy Carsey, but Fonda ultimately did not attend the event, according to Rosen’s campaign. Still, at an event earlier that day, Heller slammed Rosen for campaigning with “Hanoi Jane,” the name given to Fonda after she criticized U.S. involvement in Vietnam War during a trip to North Vietnam in 1972.
“She had a choice — a choice to serve the 300,000 veterans here in Nevada or raise $300,000 in Hollywood,” Heller said at the event. “She chooses Hollywood. Let me just give you six words: I will not sell you out.”
A little over a week later, Heller tweeted, “Don’t let Jacky Rosen’s Hollywood pals BUY Nevada’s Senate seat” and urged supporters to donate $3 to “help us fight back now.” The tweet included a video of a cartoon Jacky Rosen walking down a red carpet with the Hollywood sign in the background with text that said Rosen was “letting California elites buy her a Nevada Senate seat.”
The U.S. Senate race between Heller and Rosen will be one of the most closely watched — and priciest — in the country in the 2018 cycle. The two are polling neck and neck, with Heller at 39.7 percent support and Rosen at 39.3 percent, according to the latest poll taken by The Mellman Group for The Nevada Independent.
Updated 5-3-17 at 11:14 a.m. to clarify that actress Jane Fonda did not ultimately attend the April 20 fundraiser in Hollywood.