The theme of this year's midterm elections can be summed up in one word: Obamacare.
The Republican National Campaign Committee is challenging House Democrats over the President's signature health care law. An e-mail blast, targeting three California freshman Congressional Democrats and two Democratic challengers, invites them to sign the “ObamaCare Campaign Pledge” — to run on health care as an issue and "not run from it, as unpopular as it might be in my congressional district."
The challenge was sent to Congressmen Raul Ruiz of Palm Springs, Scott Peters of San Diego and Ami Bera of Elk Grove, as well as challengers Amanda Renteria, running against GOP freshman David Valadao of Hanford, and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, who is running against GOP veteran Gary Miller.
Ruiz is the NRCC's top California target in the midterm elections. He's being challenged by state assemblyman Brian Nestande. Scott Peters narrowly defeated then-incumbent Brian Bilbray in 2012. This time, he faces an openly gay GOP city councilman, Carl DeMaio, who lost the race for San Diego mayor in 2012.
NRCC communications director Andrea Bozek says if Democrats think that "canceled [health insurance] plans and rising premiums are something to be proud of, then we look forward" to seeing them on the campaign trail.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched its own campaign defending the health care law, called "Faces of Repeal." The website is stocked with photos and what the DCCC describes as "real stories about the cost of the Republicans' health care agenda."
San Diego resident Rebecca Tasker holds up a sign saying "repealing the Affordable Care Act would hurt me." She says she and her husband run a "small green construction business designing and building natural, non-toxic homes." She says the health care plan she found on the ACA website was $400 less a month than her former coverage.
Expect the theme to continue through the campaign leading to the November general election. In a blog post, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said, "this is the campaign Republicans want – and one the country deserves." He says "despite wishful thinking on the part of some Democrats, Obamacare is not going away as a political issue."