Pledge to repeal Democrats' healthcare reform has trouble getting signatures

A conservative pledge to repeal and replace the Democrats' healthcare reform law is struggling to find backers even though House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) endorsed it earlier in the month.

Only two other GOP incumbents — Reps. Elton Gallegly (Calif.) and Mary Bono Mack (Calif.) — have signed the pledge, which Revere America, a Washington-based conservative group named after the 18th-century Boston patriot, sent to all incumbents and candidates this year.

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That brings the total number of supporters to 55, including 29 non-incumbent GOP candidates and 25 other-party contenders (mostly independents). There are more than 475 seats in contention between the two chambers this year.

One Democratic candidate has also signed the pledge — David Hancock is challenging 12-term Republican Rep. John Duncan in Tennessee's conservative 2nd district. Duncan has nearly $1.6 million on hand, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; Hancock hasn't raised or spent a dime. 

The election handicapper FiveThirtyEight puts Duncan's odds of winning at 100 percent.

Former GOP Gov. George Pataki (N.Y.), founder and chairman of Revere America, said the bipartisan backing is a good sign for repeal supporters. 

“We are pleased that a range of candidates are getting aboard the Repeal and Replace movement,” Pataki said in a statement. “We are counting on the new Members of the [next] Congress to step up and undo the damage done by the last Congress.  

"Revere America," Pataki said, "is receiving signed pledges every day."

Last month, the group launched a seven-figure ad campaign targeting roughly a dozen Democrats from conservative-leaning districts who voted for the healthcare reform law. 

Still, repeal supporters have a difficult road ahead. Not only would repeal legislation face a likely presidential veto, but the most controversial provisions of the law — things like the individual insurance mandate — are inextricably linked to the most popular reforms, like the prohibition on denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Critics want to scrap the former and keep the latter — but have never fully explained how they'd do it.

That is a conversation, Boehner said last month, for after the elections.