The House vote to replace Obamacare has buoyed Democrats’ hopes of taking out Orange County’s four Republican Congress members, triggering a fresh wave of Democratic fundraising and rallies — and prompting a major political odds maker to revise its tote board.
The effect the vote will have on the 2018 elections is hotly debated, but it has delivered immediate fuel to the momentum of the anti-Donald Trump movement much as Obamacare helped motivate the Tea Party leading up to the 2010 midterm races. Republicans far outpaced projections in that election to take over the House, with some experts calling opposition to Obamacare key to GOP performance.
“It could turn out that people don’t care about it so much once the election comes around, but it has all the hallmarks of being a significant issue,” said Eric McGhee, a political scientist with the Public Policy Institute of California. “In 2010, Obamacare made Republicans and independents reconsider the ideology of their Democratic representatives and maybe decide they weren’t as moderate as they thought. In Republican districts that voted for Hillary Clinton last year, they may do something similar in reconsidering their view of the incumbents.”
Nationwide, there are 14 Republican House districts that voted for Clinton and have Congress members who voted Thursday for the American Health Care Act. Four of those districts are in Orange County and have already been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, making the county ground zero for Democratic efforts to gain ground in the House.
But Democrats upped the ante after Thursday’s vote. The DCCC immediately announced a six-figure internet and radio ad campaign targeting vulnerable Republicans who voted for the AHCA, including the four in Orange County — Reps. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa; Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Beach and Darrell Issa, R-Vista. On Monday, a group called Save My Care announced internet…