Joe Heck's son apologizes, again, for 'disgusting' online posts - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Joe Heck's son apologizes, again, for 'disgusting' online posts

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Republican Rep. Joe Heck, Dist. 3, talks to FOX5 after casting his ballot Nov. 4, 2014. (FOX5) Republican Rep. Joe Heck, Dist. 3, talks to FOX5 after casting his ballot Nov. 4, 2014. (FOX5)

Joey Heck, the 19-year-old son of Rep. Joe Heck, has apologized for messages he posted online.

The timing couldn't have been worse, as his father is in a tight race against Catherine Cortez Masto for Harry Reid's seat in the United States Senate.

Buzzfeed first reported Joey Heck's posts on Thursday, which appeared on the social media website Reddit. The article offers examples of instances when the college student made vulgar jokes about Hillary Clinton and "upvoted," or liked, racist and anti-Semitic images.

“I wish Hillary would violate me as much as she did federal law,” he reportedly posted online.

Many of the other posts are too vulgar to publish.

RELATED: Report: Joe Heck's son tweeted anti-gay, racial slurs

This isn’t the first time Joey Heck’s name has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons. He has “disappointed” his family and his father in the same way before, when he was 15 years old.

One of the only differences? It wasn’t an election year.

Back then, Joey Heck tweeted President Obama is only good at “spear chucking and rock skipping… the sports they do in his home country.”

Among other things, the teenager also wrote, “So Obama how did it feel when Romney raped you?”

Now, in 2016, Joey Heck has issued a lengthy statement through his father's campaign saying his actions were inexcusable and he's seeking professional counseling.

Meanwhile, analysts are weighing in on whether the teenager’s actions could (or should) impact Joe Heck’s chances to become a member of the U.S. Senate.

Mark Peplowski, FOX5’s political analyst, said targeting Joey instead of Joe would be a mistake.

“By focusing on somebody who’s not the candidate, you’re wasting the public’s time,” Peplowski. said “(Voters) are all nodding their heads saying, ‘I’m sorry, Joe. Sorry you got to go through this… Has Joe ever said anything like this?’”

Artie Blanco, a member of For Nevada’s Future, a liberal Super PAC, said it should reflect poorly on the congressman. Her office is filled with campaign posters that say “STOP HECK!”

“A child is a product of their environment,” said Blanco. “I think people need to know the truth about Joe Heck, and I am truly one of those that believes there are two sides to Joe Heck.”

Peplowski disagrees. He argues that a 19-year-old man has plenty of outside influences in addition to his upbringing. As a college professor, Peplowski knows the teenager is old enough to know better, but still young enough "to do something stupid."

"He'll probably go to counseling for his parents' sake until November 9th and then it'll be over," he said.

Cortez Masto on Friday morning only briefly mentioned Joey Heck's posts at her press conference. She argued that Joe Heck's campaign has been full of hate and equated him to Donald Trump.

"I was taught the importance of leading by example. Apparently Joe Heck was not," she said. "I've read (Joey Heck's posts). I think they're horrendous, and I think that's the rhetoric that needs to stop."

Joey Heck's family said they were deeply disappointed in his behavior, but they would stand by him as he works through issues.

Here are the family's statements in full:

Statement from Joey Heck:

"Recently, a few social media posts and responses have been linked to me by national media.  I would like to publicly apologize to you and my family for my poor judgment and bad decisions. My parents raised me to be responsible and respectful and to love my neighbor. However, my behavior on social media has gone against everything I was taught, and I am ashamed of that.  My family deserves better.

"I’ve let my family down and failed to show a proper level of respect for others.  As a 15-year-old, it was easy to get caught up in and manipulated by social media..  As an 19-year-old, I have no excuse. I know better. This is my mistake. I own it and I sincerely regret it.  I am truly sorry.

"It is difficult to be a child of someone in politics, but my family and friends were there for me when I’ve heard negative things about my father, or sometimes even myself. But to be the cause of so much pain for them is inexcusable. I’ve have chosen to go to counseling to help me work through these issues. 

"I ask only for your prayers and forgiveness as I try to become a better person. And I humbly ask that you not hold my family responsible for my actions, and place blame where it lies…with me. I have prayed for forgiveness and for my family to have strength and guidance, and I would like to ask forgiveness of anyone I have offended. 

"I have taken down all social media, not to hide from what I have done, but rather in the hope that no one will use my words to further offend or hurt others. While social media can be useful, I have learned that it can also be detrimental if used wrongly, as I have done."

Statement from the Heck Family:

"While it is difficult to convey the magnitude of our disappointment in our son Joey’s behavior as well as our concern by the content of his social media account, our love for him does not waver.  Our family accepts his apology and fully supports his decision to seek counseling.  We will stand by Joey as he works through these issues as any parent would do, and his sisters are fully committed to provide support and guidance.

"Our family in no way condones this behavior, though we do take comfort in his apology and decision to seek professional counseling.

"We ask that you allow our family privacy along with prayers to help our son through this process and very difficult time."

Copyright 2016 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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