Koch-backed group thanks Southerland for O-Care opposition

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the conservative group affiliated with the Koch brothers, David and Charles Koch, is launching a new ad thanking Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) for his opposition to ObamaCare.

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“He told us the lie of the year,” a narrator says in the ad, referencing President Obama’s erroneous claim that Americans could keep their insurance under ObamaCare, “and our congressman Steve Southerland didn’t buy it.”

The ad features a clip of Southerland speaking out against ObamaCare on the House floor, and declares that “Florida families need his leadership.”

It closes with the narrator urging viewers to call Southerland and “tell him to keep fighting against ObamaCare.”

The ad is backed by a $160,000 buy, slightly more than the $150,000 previously reported by The Hill, and will run for three weeks in the Tallahassee and Panama City markets on broadcast and cable television.

National Democrats have charged that Republicans pushing for repeal simply want to take Americans back to the problems they faced before health care reform was passed.

“The Koch brothers might be rewarding Congressman Southerland for carrying their water, but Florida voters will hold him accountable in November for repeatedly voting to give insurance companies the power to raise health care costs and kick people with pre-existing conditions off their plans," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Josh Schwerin.

It’s the AFP’s first ad thanking an incumbent on ObamaCare, though the group ran similar ads for a number of vulnerable Republicans last year around the time of the government shutdown. The group has spent $25 million since October on ObamaCare ads, largely on advertising hammering Democrats for their support of the law.

Some Democrats view the fact that the AFP is going up with its first ad defending a Republican for Southerland is an indication that the lawmaker, a top Democratic target, is particularly vulnerable heading into the election year. 

Southerland, a sophomore Republican, faces a tough challenge from Democrat Gwen Graham this fall. 

—This piece was updated at 11:15 to reflect comment from the DCCC.