Within minutes of the passage of the American Health Care Act in the House Thursday, Democrats moved to fulfill Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s warning to Republicans that their votes for the highly unpopular bill would be “tattooed to your forehead[s].”
Democrats projected confidence Republican votes for AHCA would be an electoral boon for the minority party next November, chanting “Hey hey hey, goodbye” as the final tally was announced. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a campaign to target the districts of 30 Republican incumbents it classified as vulnerable with Instagram and Facebook ads.
The first Democrat out of the gate was Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello. Shortly after the vote was final, his campaign pushed out an ad showing him standing in front of an ambulance in the jaws of a car-crushing machine.
In the spot, Perriello highlights his 2009 vote for the Affordable Care Act. He represented Virginia’s Fifth District but lost after a single term as part of the Republican wave in 2010. “Ambulance” was among YouTube’s trending videos Thursday night and into Friday.
In the high-profile race to fill Tom Price’s vacant congressional seat in Georgia’s Sixth District, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff came out with a statement against the vote Thursday.
“I strongly oppose this bill, which allows discrimination against Georgians with pre-existing conditions and would make health insurance unaffordable for millions of families,” Ossoff said. “This bill puts Georgians’ lives at risk. Congress should put aside partisan politics and work to make affordable insurance and quality care available to all Americans.”
Ossoff’s campaign was undecided on how it would go forward with messaging regarding the Republican vote.
“We know AHCA is an important issue to a lot of people,” said a spokesperson for the Ossoff campaign in a statement to Yahoo News, “especially those with pre-existing conditions, and we haven’t yet decided all the methods we’ll use to talk to voters about it, whether it’s on TV, at doors, or in mailboxes.”
In Montana’s special congressional election, Democratic candidate Rob Quist issued a statement on his Facebook page after the vote concluded. The campaign spokesman for Quist’s opponent, Republican Greg Gianforte, also issued a statement that refused to support the AHCA:
“Greg has repeatedly said he will not support a bill until he knows it reduces premiums, preserves rural access, and protects Montanans with pre-existing conditions. Obamacare failed in part because people said they need to vote for it first to find out what’s in it. Greg believes we must repeal and replace Obamacare before it collapses but as an engineer, Greg needs all the facts because it’s important to know exactly what’s in the bill before he votes on it.”
The liberal site Daily Kos, which helped spur Ossoff’s successful fundraising campaign, also launched a list of 24 Republican targets in conjunction with ActBlue, a progressive political action committee.
“A big surge in donations now would have huge salutary effects right away,” wrote David Nir, Daily Kos’ political director. “It would both terrify Republicans and boost Democratic efforts to recruit good candidates. Of course, it would also help us defeat these Republicans next year. And as it happens, 24 is exactly the number of seats we need to take back the House.”
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