Politics

Rep. Joe Garcia Apologizes for Obamacare

Tim Sahd
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Tim Sahd
Feb. 12, 2014, 5:15 a.m.

Christine O’Don­nell, Delaware’s newly min­ted Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee for the Sen­ate, is the hot­test name in polit­ics this week — but cer­tainly not among some GOP Sen­ate op­er­at­ives who feel she’s too flawed to win in this heav­ily Demo­crat­ic state. In fact, Demo­crats on the Sen­ate level ap­pear to have be­nefited from a rash of tea party vic­tor­ies in the last sev­er­al months.

But don’t think for a minute that this phe­nomen­on is lim­ited to O’Don­nell or her fel­low Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates.

To be sure, House Re­pub­lic­ans have largely avoided the wave of tea party nom­in­ees that seems to have af­fected their Sen­ate coun­ter­parts’ care­fully laid plans. Sur­pris­ingly, only a hand­ful of ser­i­ous Re­pub­lic­an es­tab­lish­ment types have gone down to de­feat in primar­ies at the hands of tea party chal­lengers.

But that doesn’t mean the huge crop of vi­able Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates this cycle is without flaws.

Quite the con­trary. Some of these re­cruits are ca­reer politi­cians, like state le­gis­lat­ors or law en­force­ment of­fi­cials. But most, though, are busi­ness­men or phys­i­cians who nev­er be­fore thought about run­ning for Con­gress. And as Demo­crats peel back the lay­ers, they’re find­ing dirt on sev­er­al of these new­bies.

Take South Dakota. A few weeks ago it was re­vealed that GOP state Rep. Kristi Noem, the party’s nom­in­ee to face Rep. Stephanie Her­seth Sand­lin, D-S.D., had col­lec­ted 20 speed­ing tick­ets in the span of 20 years. Demo­crats also reveled in the fact that she had a few war­rants is­sued for over­due fines.

Pri­or to that rev­el­a­tion, Noem was fly­ing high; but ever since, she ap­pears to have lost mo­mentum. Her­seth Sand­lin, mean­while, ap­pears to have caught a second wind and battled back in­to a con­test some began to write off for Demo­crats.

In New York’s 1st Dis­trict, which takes in far east­ern Long Is­land, Re­pub­lic­ans be­lieve they have a fairly good shot at knock­ing off Demo­crat­ic Rep. Tim Bish­op. Their nom­in­ee, busi­ness­man Randy Altschuler, has a $1.5 mil­lion war chest and Re­pub­lic­ans view this swing dis­trict as ripe for a change.

But Demo­crats are ex­cited about fa­cing Altschuler, as he foun­ded a busi­ness called Of­fice Ti­ger that out­sourced thou­sands of jobs. He was at­tacked mer­ci­lessly in the primary — yes, the GOP primary — on this by his rivals but still won with 45 per­cent in a three-way con­test.

If he thought Re­pub­lic­ans treated him badly, Demo­crats will be twice as harsh. Just minutes after he de­clared vic­tory in his primary earli­er this week, the Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee tar­geted Altschuler for Of­fice Ti­ger’s work. “It’s pain­fully clear that Randy Altschuler only cares about his bank ac­count, not jobs on Long Is­land,” said DCCC spokes­man Shri­p­al Shah.

And don’t think the can­did­ates’ per­son­al lives are out-of-bounds.

In the race to chal­lenge Rep. Le­onard Boswell, D-Iowa, Demo­crats got a gift in the form of a 2001 po­lice re­port. The re­port showed that Re­pub­lic­an state Sen. Brad Za­un was told to stay away from his former girl­friend after she ac­cused him of har­ass­ing her.

And just as Re­pub­lic­ans think they had Rep. Lin­coln Dav­is, D-Tenn., on the ropes, news sur­faced of a dec­ade-old “bit­ter di­vorce” between GOP nom­in­ee Scott Des­Jar­lais and his ex-wife, who ac­cused him of har­ass­ment and phys­ic­al ab­use. Des­Jar­lais has denied any wrong­do­ing.

It doesn’t take a vivid ima­gin­a­tion to pic­ture what those Demo­crat­ic ads would look like.

Demo­crats ar­gue that these are in no way isol­ated in­cid­ents, and say they have the goods on oth­er can­did­ates to put those races out of reach for Re­pub­lic­ans. If Demo­crats can save a hand­ful of seats with these at­tacks, it might mean the dif­fer­ence between a minor­ity and a ma­jor­ity.

Re­pub­lic­ans ar­gue, though, that in a year where the eco­nomy dom­in­ates the land­scape, per­son­al is­sues will take a back­seat to jobs and the eco­nomy. Fur­ther­more, they be­lieve they have a big­ger weapon: House Speak­er Pelosi.

Yes, we’ve been down this road be­fore. In most of the re­cent spe­cial elec­tions, ads com­ing from na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­ans have fea­tured Pelosi as the boo­gey­wo­man, and some blame that strategy for cost­ing Re­pub­lic­ans those con­tests.

But strategists ar­gue that she’s so un­pop­u­lar in many com­pet­it­ive dis­tricts that it would be polit­ic­al mal­prac­tice not to use her, par­tic­u­larly in the South.

And that’s ex­actly what the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee did in its first wave of TV ads. The com­mit­tee began air­ing ads over the week­end against eight Demo­crats, and five of them — all in the South — fea­tured Pelosi.

And why not, when many Demo­crats — like Alabama’s Bobby Bright, who felt the need to dis­tance him­self from Pelosi by jok­ing that she may die be­fore the next speak­er elec­tion — are them­selves scared to ad­mit she’s their lead­er.

Demo­crats have prided them­selves on run­ning loc­al­ized elec­tions, and point to their suc­cess in spe­cial elec­tions in 2008 and 2009 to demon­strate they can with­stand what’s go­ing to be a very good year for Re­pub­lic­ans.

But those races didn’t hap­pen in the cur­rent en­vir­on­ment, and the sheer num­ber of seats Re­pub­lic­ans have put in play this cycle will make it dif­fi­cult for Demo­crats to save the House, even if they have dam­aging in­form­a­tion on some can­did­ates.

What We're Following See More »
23 MILLION FEWER INSURED IN 2026
Congressional Budget Office Scores House Trumpcare Bill
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.

Source:
GOP DISCORD
Graham Rejects Trump’s Budget In Hearing
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is little more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.

Source:
PREFERS “CLEAN” BILL
Mnuchin Looks To Avoid Debt Ceiling Fight
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS
“THAT’S THE GOAL”
McConnell Not Sure How To Get 50 Votes For Health Care
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login