With jobs and the economy a given, Republicans are working to turn the 2014 elections into an argument over the Affordable Care Act. And that message could be helped by a high-profile Senate race in Kansas against the very woman who oversaw the law’s disastrous rollout.
Some Democrats are asking outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to challenge her home state senator, Republican Pat Roberts, in the fall, the The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Nominating Sebelius, a potentially serious contender in the state, would force national Republicans to spend money in Kansas, pulling away funds that could help them in other Senate battlegrounds this fall. Sebelius was a popular two-term governor in Kansas before joining the Obama administration and could put Roberts in the position of needing outside help, Democrats argue.
But Sebelius’s entry into the race could also boost Republican efforts elsewhere in the country. It’s not hard to imagine the national party using the caretaker of the first six months of the Affordable Care Act as a straw man for Democratic candidates and causes across the country in 2014. The fundraising letters practically write themselves.
If Sebelius does decide to run in 2014 — and that’s a big if — she could also help Roberts in his primary race, as Alex Roarty argued Wednesday. Roberts is running against Dr. Milton Wolf, a tea-party challenger, who has faced criticism from the party establishment for some outlandish remarks and is, ironically, President Obama’s cousin. With a high-profile Democrat on the ticket in November, Roberts could easily bring concerns about electability to the forefront, potentially derailing Wolf’s already uphill campaign.
Very little polling has been done in the race so far, but even an automated survey from Public Policy Polling showed Roberts with a 26-point lead over Wolf. The same survey, conducted in February, shows both Republicans defeating Sebelius in a hypothetical fall matchup in a state Obama lost by almost 22 points last year.
This isn’t the first time Sebelius has been mentioned as a potential Senate candidate. She was encouraged by Democrats to run for then-Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat in 2010, when he ran for governor, but ultimately decided to continue her work with the Obama administration.
After months of dealing with the fallout surrounding the issues with HealthCare.gov, it seems unlikely that Sebelius would jump into what promises to be a nasty race against Roberts and national Republicans. Friends told the The Times they “seriously doubted” that she would run.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee would not comment on a possible Sebelius campaign.
What We're Following See More »
"The Obama administration on Tuesday called on U.S. states to ban agreements prohibiting many workers from moving to their employers’ rivals, saying it would lead to a more competitive labor market and faster wage growth. The administration said so-called non-compete agreements interfere with worker mobility and states should consider barring companies from requiring low-wage workers and other employees who are not privy to trade secrets or other special circumstances to sign them."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz plans to spend "years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton." Chaffetz told the Washington Post: “It’s a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”
Hillary Clinton's transition team has in place strict rules to limit the influence that lobbyists could have "in crafting the nominee’s policy agenda." The move makes it unlikely, at least for now, that Clinton would overturn Obama's executive order limiting the role that lobbyists play in government
Federal employees from 14 agencies have given nearly $2 million in campaign donations in the presidential race thus far, and 95 percent of the donations, totaling $1.9 million, have been to the Clinton campaign. Employees at the State Department, which Clinton lead for four years, has given 99 percent of its donations to the Democratic nominee.