Dems seize opportunity in Ryan vote

House Democratic candidates vying to unseat Republican opponents who supported the GOP 2015 budget on Thursday are highlighting those votes as a key campaign issue.

They have backup from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee too, which unveiled its "Battleground: Middle Class" effort this week, hitting vulnerable members in paid Web ads and robocalls on the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that would cut $5.1 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.

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"This irresponsible budget shows how Congressman Davis has the wrong priorities and his votes would harm Illinois families,” said Ann Callis, who is trying to unseat Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). Davis's seat leans Republican but is still considered competitive.

In the case of Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), who voted against the GOP budget, Democrats still criticized his general support for policies in the proposal. The New York Republican voted for the GOP budget in 2011, but not in any subsequent years. Gibson's seat is considered a toss-up this cycle.

“This is not the first time we’ve seen Chris Gibson act like a typical politician in an election year, but voters have the right to know where he stands on these important issues,” said Sean Eldridge, the Democratic nominee to unseat Gibson. "Unlike Chris Gibson, there is no mistaking my view on the policies the Ryan budget promotes."

Amanda Renteria, who's vying to unseat freshman Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) in a Democratic-leaning district, also slammed the incumbent's support for the budget, noting that it did not address a potential immigration overhaul.

“David Valadao’s vote on the Republican budget shows that he is out of touch with the Central Valley. This budget hurts education, it does not address immigration reform, and it harms our seniors,” the Democrat said. 

House Republicans were also using the votes today as political fodder, hitting vulnerable Democrats who didn't support the budget, such as Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), for contributing to more reckless spending and increased ObamaCare funding. 

“Collin Peterson has made it clear, he has no intention of balancing the budget,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Peterson is part of the problem in Washington and clearly is willing to put his support for Nancy Pelosi before protecting seniors in his district and making responsible decisions to grow the economy and get spending under control.”