Doctors running for office can typically count on the endorsement of at least one group—their professional organization. Not so this year for Republican radiologists.
While the American College of Radiology Association PAC is spending more than $230,000 on printed material for mailings in the Tennessee and Kansas Republican primary races, the group is doing it to help Sens. Lamar Alexander and Pat Roberts beat back challenges from radiologists, PAC Director Ted Burnes told National Journal.
Why? Because both Alexander and Roberts serve on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the panel with jurisdiction over issues important to the radiology industry.
“Roberts and Lamar are kind of big deals,” Burnes said. “One is potentially chair of [the committee] if the Senate flips, and Lamar has already been really good on radiology issues.”
Roberts is in a competitive primary race against radiologist Milton Wolf, a tea-party candidate who’s under scrutiny from the state’s medical board for posting private photos of patients’ X-rays on Facebook. In Tennessee, Alexander is up against a handful of distant challengers, including radiologist George Flinn, who won the PAC’s support in a 2012 race against Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen.
Burnes said the decision to back Roberts and Alexander rather than its own members was a gesture of support to two incumbents with whom the group wants to maintain a good relationship. Roberts, in particular, he said, has long been a champion of the radiology industry, and Alexander is an investment.
As for his radiology brethren, Burnes said it wasn’t personal. Both candidates reached out for support in their races but were turned down. Burnes pointed to Flinn’s low prospects in the Tennessee primary (he’s behind the senator as well as a long-shot tea-party challenger) and Wolf’s current controversy with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.
“Just because someone’s a radiologist doesn’t mean they come to D.C. to be representative of radiology,” Burnes said. “I think, in Wolf’s case, he’s more ideologically based, and more “no” on most things.”
But among most medical PACs, backing one’s own is pretty common. The American Society of Anesthesiologists’ PAC made a big investment in obstetric anesthesiologist Val Arkoosh, who ran for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s 13th District this cycle, and has previously backed Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, an anesthesiologist, and Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, whose wife is in the business. The American Gastroenterological Association PAC is supporting the only gastroenterologist in Congress this cycle, Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, in his bid for the Senate.
Burnes said RADPAC will also roll out a campaign for Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat running for the Senate in Iowa, that includes both radio and mail and will exceed $100,000.
RADPAC has backed Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas this cycle.
What We're Following See More »
A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."
"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."
"The Air Force is set to deploy its high-tech, fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to Europe this weekend as part of an effort to assure U.S. allies there who are worried about Russian aggression." The new, state-of-the-art fighters will train with European air units. "The Pentagon noted that the deployment had been long planned, meaning it was not a reaction to recent increasing tensions between the United States and Russia," although a statement noted the move is part of the "European Reassurance Initiative," which began three years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.