ObamaCare will be the driving campaign issue of 2014, according to a memo National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) sent to House Republicans Monday morning that was obtained by The Hill.
The memo, released one year ahead of the midterm elections, promises that the rollout of President Obama's signature healthcare law will dominate headlines and doom Democrats.
"Through all the twists the turns of this last year — from the president’s sequester to his botched handling of Benghazi and Syria to the IRS scandal — ObamaCare remains at the top of the American people's concerns, and the failure of its rollout has only escalated their fears about this law," Walden says in the memo. "Certainly, other issues may rise and fall — but ObamaCare is the constant that runs through this election."
"Twelve months out from Election Day, Republicans are in a strong position to grow our majority," he writes.
To that end, Walden details new polling showing vulnerability for Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Bill Enyart (D-Ill.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.). Enyart trails his Republican opponent in a poll from GOP firm Harper Polling, while Kirkpatrick, Bera and Rahall hold low approval ratings in districts where Obama's unpopularity is high (though the memo doesn't include disapproval numbers, so they may be due to low name recognition).
Read the full memo:
FROM: Greg Walden
TO: Republican Conference
SUBJECT: One Year Today
As I’m out traveling my congressional district in Oregon, I’m hearing a consistent theme from my constituents that I know many of you are hearing, too: People don’t have much trust in the federal government to fix our problems.
That general attitude translated into reality in the last couple of weeks, as the rollout of ObamaCare turned out to be exactly what Democrat Max Baucus had predicted – an utter train wreck.
The total dysfunctionality of the ObamaCare Web site has brought to life the serious consequences of this flawed law – and more broadly, the inability of President Obama and the Democrats who control Washington to solve our problems.
We stand today exactly one year from Election Day 2014, and if the last 12 months are any indication, there are going to be many challenges and issues that emerge between now and then. Some we can predict; many we can’t. And all along the way, the pundits and beltway prognosticators will have their say.
But we also know something else: Through all the twists the turns of this last year – from the president’s sequester to his botched handling of Benghazi and Syria to the IRS scandal – ObamaCare remains at the top of the American people’s concerns, and the failure of its rollout has only escalated their fears about this law.
Certainly, other issues may rise and fall – but ObamaCare is the constant that runs through this election.
And when you couple the ObamaCare train wreck with Nancy Pelosi’s continued claim that spending isn’t a problem, and the Democrats constant defense of all things Washington, a powerful theme has emerged as we enter the election year: Democrats are running on an agenda that puts Washington first; Republicans are running on an agenda that puts Americans first.
This paradigm helps explain some consistent trends we are seeing in recent polling conducted by Harper Polling in some of the most competitive House districts in the country – and that runs counter to the mainstream media narrative.
I’ll detail findings in specific districts, but here are some general themes we see across the country:
· Democrat incumbents in key districts are weak.
· President Obama is incredibly unpopular in these same districts.
· Voters see Democrat incumbents as part of the problem in Washington.
· Voters prefer a Republican check and balance to a Democrat who will help the president pass his agenda.
· Rising premiums under ObamaCare are a big concern among voters.
Now, a look at some specific districts:
· AZ-01: This is looking more and more like one of our best pick-up opportunities anywhere in the nation. Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s approval rating sits at just 33 percent – extremely weak for an incumbent in a toss-up district and 6 points lower than President Obama’s approval in this district (Obama is at 54 percent disapproval). Does she deserve re-election? Only 33 percent say, yes. And 40 percent of those surveyed say Kirkpatrick is part of the problem in Washington, with only 33 percent seeing her as part of the solution. Any way you look at it, Kirkpatrick is in big trouble.
· CA-07: President Obama’s disapproval is at 51 percent in this suburban Sacramento district. Think that’s bad? Well, Democrat Ami Bera’s approval is actually 7 points lower than the president – only 34 percent approve of how Bera is doing his job. Meanwhile, only 33 percent of those polled think Bera deserves re-election, and 41 percent think he’s part of the problem in Washington.
· IL-12: Here, a whopping 55 percent of those polled disapprove of the job the president is doing – and only 25 percent of voters approve of Democrat incumbent Bill Enyart. That’s embarrassingly low for an incumbent facing a tough midterm race. Similarly, only 24 percent think Enyart deserve re-election, and 43 percent of voters see him as part of the problem in Washington. And here’s the best part: In a head-to-head match-up, Republican Mike Bost is beating Enyart – 41 percent to 36 percent.
· WV-03: Democrats are in complete denial that they have a race in this district, but recent polling is revealing. An extraordinary high 67 percent of voters disapprove of President Obama, and a majority of voters (52 percent) want someone new in Congress (only 35 percent think Democrat Nick Rahall deserves re-election). I believe Rahall’s numbers will continue to slide as more and more voters in this district, which relies heavily on coal jobs, learn that Rahall voted for a coal-destroying carbon tax. His problems are compounded by the fact that his challenger, Democrat-turned-Republican Evan Jenkins, outraised him in the last quarter.
Twelve months out from Election Day, Republicans are in a strong position to grow our majority.
Voters want accountability and transparency in government, and they know that they are not going to get that by giving Democrats full control of Washington.
We have an excellent and diverse field of candidates that include women and minorities – with more on the way. In the last quarter, five of our candidates outraised the Democrat incumbents they are challenging.
The bottom line is that Americans have experienced what happens when Democrats have complete control of Washington: ObamaCare, trillions of dollars in new reckless spending, higher taxes, more debt, IRS scandals. Meanwhile, our agenda includes getting our spending under control, balancing our budget to get our economy moving, promoting patient-centered healthcare reform and ensuring that government is accountable and transparent.
Even so, we aren’t taking anything for granted. President Obama has made clear that winning the House for Democrats is his number one goal. We will continue to stay on offense so we can ensure that Nancy Pelosi is never, ever Speaker of the House again.