Kentucky Governor’s Obamacare Advocacy Could Help Mitch McConnell

Gov. Steve Beshear is an outspoken champion of the law, but his party’s Senate nominee isn’t as publicly enthusiastic.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear gives a speech at the Basse-Normandie's Regional council, on August 2, 2012 in Caen, northwestern France. Beshear is in Normandy for meetings with the French President of the Normandy Council and its members, to help to organize the next Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, held in Normandy in 2014. In 2010, the Kentucky state organized the World Equestrian Games. Also, Beshear came to support the call to add the beaches where Allied forces landed as part of the Operation Overlord in 1944 during World War II, to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
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Sarah Mimms
Oct. 3, 2013, 2:29 p.m.

As one of the few red-state gov­ernors to set up a state-run health ex­change, Ken­tucky Demo­crat­ic Gov. Steve Be­s­hear is tak­ing a prom­in­ent role in tout­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act, put­ting him at odds with Demo­crat­ic Sec­ret­ary of State Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes, who has stayed re­l­at­ively si­lent on the law in the early months of her Sen­ate cam­paign.

Grimes, who is run­ning against Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, has said little about the new law as she tries to dis­tance her­self from an ad­min­is­tra­tion that re­mains un­pop­u­lar in her home state. Like many oth­er red state Demo­crats, she has said that she op­poses full re­peal and would like to fix cer­tain areas of the law, but Grimes has yet to get spe­cif­ic on what changes she would make. Re­pub­lic­ans and the loc­al press are con­tinu­ing to press her on the is­sue and with one of her cam­paign’s top sur­rog­ates prais­ing the law, that pres­sure is only likely to grow.

In a New York Times op-ed pub­lished last week­end head­lined “My State Needs Obama­care. Now,” Be­s­hear urged the law’s op­pon­ents to “get over it and get out of the way so I can help my people.” Left un­men­tioned was Mc­Con­nell.

Be­s­hear hasn’t be­come any less shy in the last few days, singing the law’s praises on tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and in a speech in Wash­ing­ton on Thursday. “We’ve got the naysay­ers out here. They keep say­ing this will be a train­wreck. Well, they’re on the wrong train be­cause this thing, so far, is a huge suc­cess,” Be­s­hear said today in a speech at a health care sym­posi­um sponsored by the Na­tion­al Journ­al this af­ter­noon.

Be­s­hear has been a vo­cal sup­port­er of Grimes’ cam­paign, and has already ap­peared at cam­paign events on her be­half. The more out­spoken he is in his sup­port for the law, the more pres­sure will be put on Grimes to take a firm stand. But Be­s­hear said that he isn’t wor­ried about the Af­ford­able Care Act weigh­ing down Grimes’ cam­paign.

Asked wheth­er he thought the law would be a li­ab­il­ity for Grimes, Be­s­hear told the Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Ron Brown­stein: “I agree with you that it will prob­ably be an is­sue in 2014. But I dis­agree with you that it will be a li­ab­il­ity in 2014. If things con­tin­ue to go as they are go­ing right now, and people kind of open up to this, like they’re do­ing and listen and edu­cate them­selves “¦ the more people do that, the more people see, ‘Oh my God, the world is not end­ing like these people said.’”

In a brief in­ter­view with Hot­line On Call, Be­s­hear wouldn’t say wheth­er he has spe­cific­ally dis­cussed the Af­ford­able Care Act with Grimes, but said that she’ll likely ad­dress it more later on in the cam­paign. For now, he said, her fo­cus should be else­where. “I’ve ad­vised her to raise money,” he said.

Grimes does have some catch­ing up to do. Mc­Con­nell had al­most $10 mil­lion in the bank at the end of June, be­fore she even entered the race. Third quarter fun­drais­ing re­ports are due on Oct. 15 and will be the first real test of Grimes’ strength as a Sen­ate can­did­ate.

“I think she’ll have a good re­port. “¦ From a news me­dia stand­point it won’t be enough — it’ll nev­er be enough “¦ but I think it’ll be good,” Be­s­hear told On Call.

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