Koch-Funded Group to Hit Trio of Vulnerable Dems Over Obamacare Support

All three hail from states that will be key to Democrats holding their Senate majority.

US Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-LA, speaks during a press conference to highlight the impact of the government shutdown on small bussinesses on October 3, 2013 in the Mansfield Room of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Clara Ritger
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Clara Ritger
Jan. 2, 2014, 8:17 a.m.

A Koch broth­ers-backed con­ser­vat­ive group is launch­ing a $2.5 mil­lion ad cam­paign aimed at Sen­ate Demo­crats who sup­por­ted the Af­ford­able Care Act and face reelec­tion chal­lenges this year.

Start­ing to­mor­row, Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity is run­ning a three-week ad­vert­ising blitz against Sens. Kay Hagan of North Car­o­lina, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hamp­shire, and Mary Landrieu of Louisi­ana. Hagan and Landrieu have both faced the cri­ti­cism of Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity in pre­vi­ous me­dia buys. The or­gan­iz­a­tion has spent more than $4 mil­lion in North Car­o­lina and more than $2 mil­lion in Louisi­ana on the sen­at­ors.

In a press re­lease Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity cited Pres­id­ent Obama’s “If you like your plan, you can keep it” prom­ise that he failed to make good on after in­sur­ance com­pan­ies began send­ing can­cel­la­tion no­tices to con­sumers who had cov­er­age that did not com­ply with the health law’s new re­quire­ments.

“We’re put­ting pres­sure on sen­at­ors who re­peated that lie and doubled down on Obama­care even as it be­came ob­vi­ous that the law was hurt­ing mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans,” said AFP Pres­id­ent Tim Phil­lips in the re­lease.

Hagan and Landrieu are both run­ning in states that favored Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger Mitt Rom­ney over Pres­id­ent Obama in the 2012 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. Rom­ney won North Car­o­lina with 50.6 per­cent of the state’s vote to 48.4 per­cent for Obama. In Louisi­ana, Rom­ney won in a land­slide, win­ning 57.8 per­cent to 40.6 per­cent for Obama.

New Hamp­shire went for Obama in 2012, but in 2010 the state’s res­id­ents elec­ted Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Re­pub­lic­an and staunch op­pon­ent of Obama­care.

“These sen­at­ors are in the states that are among the most op­posed to Obama­care,” Phil­lips said. “They went the fur­thest away from the wishes of their states.”

Among the suc­cess­ful out­comes Phil­lips hopes will come from the ad cam­paign is the com­mit­ment by the three sen­at­ors to make changes to and even­tu­ally re­peal the pres­id­ent’s health law.

“Politi­cians will do any­thing when they’re frightened for their po­s­i­tions,” Phil­lips said. “They’ve already taken steps to dis­tance them­selves from the law.”

Last fall, Landrieu in­tro­duced le­gis­la­tion to let Amer­ic­ans with health in­sur­ance policies that did not com­ply with the law’s cov­er­age re­quire­ments keep them. After Health­Care.gov‘s troubled rol­lout, Shaheen pro­posed a two-month ex­ten­sion of the open-en­roll­ment peri­od. Hagan cir­cu­lated a let­ter ask­ing for an in-depth in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the web­site’s cost and de­vel­op­ment. She was also a sup­port­er of Landrieu’s bill.

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