New Democratic ads would give Steve Bannon assist in war vs. Paul Ryan, Martha McSally

Friday, 06 October 2017, 06:36:23 AM. The Democratic party’s campaign arm for House races unveils a blitz that features the House speaker and vulnerable members like Arizona's McSally.

WASHINGTON — If President Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon intends to target House Speaker Paul Ryan, Democrats will lend a hand.

The Democratic party’s official campaign arm for House races is unveiling its first ad campaign of the 2018 cycle — and the cable television and radio blitz will prominently featuring the Wisconsin Republican and vulnerable members like Arizona's Martha McSally.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will cast Ryan and his attempts to unravel "Obamacare" as an ongoing threat to the health-care coverage of millions of Americans.

The DCCC is also turning its attention to McSally, R-Ariz., whose Tucson-based district is among the most evenly divided in the country.

Democrats are spending at least $100,000 on radio ads called "Waiting" that will run for three weeks and attack McSally for supporting Ryan’s health-care bill.

“Rep. Martha McSally will stop at nothing to rip away affordable health-care coverage from her constituents, and we are all at risk as long as she’s in office,” said DCCC spokeswoman Rachel Irwin. “It should be no cause for comfort that House Republicans have failed to repeal our health care, increase out-of-pocket costs, and go after people with pre-existing conditions thus far, as Speaker Ryan has already indicated that they will continue this personal assault on Arizonans in the coming months.”

The Ryan television ad, titled "Never Stop," warns voters that Republicans are still “coming after your health care.”

Even as Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act have stalled in Congress, the Democrats see a political opportunity in keeping the focus on health care – while capitalizing on Ryan's low approval ratings – ahead of next year’s midterm elections. 

“Rep. Martha McSally will stop at nothing to rip away affordable health-care coverage from her constituents, and we are all at risk as long as she’s in office.”

Rachel Irwin, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman

That Democrats see the embattled Ryan — rather than Trump himself — as their most urgent target ahead of 2018 underscores that it's GOP leaders and their rank-and-file in the line of fire over the next 12 months. 

The case Democrats want to make to midterm voters is that the threat remains as long as Republicans remain in charge of Congress, and the group chose to launch this campaign just days after expiration of a Sept. 30 procedural deadline to change Obamacare on a party-line vote.

“House Republicans will stop at nothing to rip away affordable healthcare coverage from their constituents, and we are all at risk as long as they control the House,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.

The ad campaign foreshadows a potentially brutal 12 months in which Ryan and Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will be taking incoming fire from two different fronts.

Bannon, the pugnacious former Trump official who helped orchestrate his 2016 outsider campaign, has been an outspoken critic of both Ryan and McConnell and is already channeling that criticism into a parallel war. They are digging up dirt on Republican Senate incumbents who they feel might betray Trump's agenda in order to try to replace them in 2018. 

The Democratic effort comes after internal party polling suggests Trump, with his campaign pledge to "drain the swamp," was on to something: What unites many voters in middle America is their disdain for the GOP establishment, and in particular, the House and Senate leadership. While many Trump loyalists blame them for obstructing the president, Democrats see them as the masterminds behind an agenda that risks the nation's safety net programs, beginning with health care. 

“It should be no cause for comfort that House Republicans have failed to repeal our healthcare, increase out-of-pocket costs, and go after people with pre-existing conditions thus far, as Speaker Ryan has already indicated that they will continue this personal assault in the coming months," says Luján.

The Republican campaign appears to have backfired when it comes to public approval of Obamacare. Gallup tracking surveys showed 53% of Americans approved of the law in July of this year. That’s a a 13-point jump from early 2014, when Republicans were insisting there is a better way to approach health care but before they shared their alternative.

The ad buy, beginning Thursday on MSNBC and CNN, is unusual in an off-year election and so early in the cycle. Radio ads will run in 10 districts of vulnerable Republicans who voted in May for a GOP plan to replace Obamacare, as well as Texas's Will Hurd, who voted against the plan. They include McSally and Rep. Jeff Denham of California. Democrats need to win 23 more seats to take control of the House.

The effort also comes as Republican Party officials fear intra-party tensions will erupt into a full blown civil war, with Bannon and his troops threatening the GOP's majority by electing more conservative candidates in primaries who could be defeated by Democrats in the general election.

A recent Alabama Senate special election demonstrated how Bannon intends to take direct aim at Republican leaders. With Bannon's assist, Roy Moore, a controversial candidate for his statements on gays and race, defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. During appearances on the stump, Bannon derided McConnell as part of a political class that is “the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in the country.”

If the GOP-led Congress continues to spin its wheels on meaningful legislative victories, Bannon is especially likely to expand his list of targets. In addition to failing to roll back Obamacare, there’s been no congressional movement on major Trump campaign promises, including a wall with Mexico and a major infrastructure spending package. Recent polling shows, the strategy of blaming McConnell and Ryan instead of Trump is working, with significantly more GOP voters seeing Trump as in touch with them.

For their part, Democrats see the combination of their polling advantage on health care and Ryan’s low public approval ratings as a huge political opportunity.

According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, just 31 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, while 51 percent do not. Notably, just 8 percent strongly approve of his performance, to 31 percent who strongly disapprove. The numbers are similar to those of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in 2010 before her party lost its majority to Republicans.

Other House lawmakers on the DCCC's target list are: French Hill of Arkansas, David Valadao of California, Brian Mast of Florida, Mike Bost of Illinois, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, Andy Barr of Kentucky, Bruce Poliquin of Maine and Don Bacon of Nebraska.

The TV ads run for a week and the radio ads will run for three weeks.

Republic Staff Writer Ronald J. Hansen contributed to this article.

 

 

 

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Article New Democratic ads would give Steve Bannon assist in war vs. Paul Ryan, Martha McSally compiled by www.azcentral.com