September 4, 2019 News

Politico: Democrats bet big on Obamacare to win Virginia statehouse


by Democratic Party of Virginia

Politico: Democrats bet big on Obamacare to win Virginia statehouseKEY POINTS:

"Virginia Democrats are betting health care will help them take control of the state legislature in November, following their rout of Republicans two years ago that nearly eliminated the GOP’s hold on the Virginia statehouse.

[...]

The fight for Medicaid expansion, as well as backlash to Trump amid the state’s leftward shift, drove Gov. Ralph Northam’s successful 2017 campaign and helped Democrats nearly retake control of the Virginia House of Delegates. In a replay of that strategy, Democrats are reminding voters that Virginia Republicans, including Cox and Jones, had long opposed Medicaid expansion, which has covered more than 300,000 low-income Virginians since enrollment started last November, and they contend only Democrats can be trusted to preserve the program.

[...]

“What I’m hearing from voters most is that, they are offended and upset that Chris Jones is putting out false information about his record," said Clinton Jenkins, the Democrat challenging Jones. “He wasn’t a leader in health care reform, he voted against it four times. That’s what I’m hearing." Jones and Cox did not respond to multiple inquiries from POLITICO."See below from Politico: 

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Politico: Democrats bet big on Obamacare to win Virginia statehouse

By Rachana Pradhan 

September 4, 2019

Virginia Democrats are betting health care will help them take control of the state legislature in November, following their rout of Republicans two years ago that nearly eliminated the GOP’s hold on the Virginia statehouse.

Democrats are already pouring tens of thousands of dollars into ads targeting the health care records of GOP incumbents in newly competitive races, hoping to capitalize on recently redrawn legislative districts seen as more favorable to Democrats. And new polling data says health care ranks high for potential voters.

State lawmakers will face voters for the first time since Virginia adopted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in an election that will test whether some of the same pro-Obamacare messaging can work again. The off-year election will be watched closely as a harbinger for 2020, after Virginia’s last statewide elections forecast the mid-term blue wave, although Democratic presidential hopefuls are in a bitter and sometimes muddled fight over the future of the landmark health law. Another health care-fueled Democratic victory in Virginia this fall could be a worrying sign for President Donald Trump, who has sought to seize an advantage on health care since failing to replace Obamacare.

Both of Virginia's legislative chambers are up for grabs this fall, with Republicans holding just a razor-thin majority in each chamber. A full Democratic takeover could usher in the most liberal government in Virginia history and empower the party to redraw electoral maps for the state legislature and congressional seats in 2021.

Little polling has been done on the legislative races, more than two months out from the election, but results from a Roanoke College poll last week showed health care ranked as a top issue for potential voters, narrowly behind education and the economy. The poll also showed that Democrats had a slight advantage over Republicans on a generic ballot.

House Democrats in an initial $90,000 digital campaign are running health-focused ads against two high-profile GOP incumbents — Speaker Kirk Cox and Appropriations Committee Chairman Chris Jones — for being against “affordable health care,” even though the two powerful lawmakers voted for Medicaid expansion last year.

The fight for Medicaid expansion, as well as backlash to Trump amid the state’s leftward shift, drove Gov. Ralph Northam’s successful 2017 campaign and helped Democrats nearly retake control of the Virginia House of Delegates. In a replay of that strategy, Democrats are reminding voters that Virginia Republicans, including Cox and Jones, had long opposed Medicaid expansion, which has covered more than 300,000 low-income Virginians since enrollment started last November, and they contend only Democrats can be trusted to preserve the program.

“You know why we were able to move forward and pass Medicaid expansion, it was because we had a successful wave election [in 2017],” said state Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, who leads the House Democratic caucus. “You can see who fought against it — which party, which members, year after year."

Jones, a pharmacist who’s represented a district near Virginia Beach since 1998, has run multiple ads touting his support of the program. One ad calls him Medicaid expansion’s “deciding vote,” though the program passed with a comfortable margin in the House. Another said “he led the fight to expand Medicaid and voted to improve our mental health system.”

Democrats say Jones is distorting his record on Medicaid expansion now that his political career is at risk.

“What I’m hearing from voters most is that, they are offended and upset that Chris Jones is putting out false information about his record," said Clinton Jenkins, the Democrat challenging Jones. “He wasn’t a leader in health care reform, he voted against it four times. That’s what I’m hearing."

Jones and Cox did not respond to multiple inquiries from POLITICO. Read the full article here

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