The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday that it will run radio ads targeting U.S. Rep. Andy Barr for his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The ads are the first of the 2018 congressional campaign and indicate that national Democrats view Barr as a vulnerable incumbent. Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District is one of 11 selected by the DCCC for this round of advertising.
“This signals confidence in the candidates they expect to field,” said Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky.
Currently, three Democrats are vying for the chance to take on Barr in the general election: former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath of Georgetown, state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington, and perennial candidate Geoff Young of Lexington. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has remained silent about whether he’ll enter the Democratic primary.
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The ad, set to run on five radio stations in the Lexington area, focus on Barr’s vote in the House for a GOP-backed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Congressman Barr already voted to raise your out-of-pocket costs and premiums, to gut Medicaid and treatment for opioid addiction, impose what the AARP calls a devastating age tax if you’re 50 or older, and end guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, even cancer,” a female narrator says in the ad.
Barr’s support of the bill drew large crowds of opponents to his subsequent town hall meetings in the district, where he praised the bill because it would have eliminated several taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act and decreased the national debt by restricting the growth of Medicaid.
A spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said the DCCC’s radio ad “highlights their preference for playing political games over getting things done.”
“Democrats have done literally nothing to improve the dire state of Obamacare in Kentucky,” said spokeswoman Maddie Anderson. “With premiums rising 75 percent since 2013, it would have been malpractice for Congressman Barr to sit back and watch the marketplace crumble and his constituents suffer.”
She accused Democrats of “trying to prop up Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate who has never lived in Central Kentucky,” a reference to McGrath, who moved back to Kentucky this summer after serving 20 years in the military.
Voss said the ad could indicate that Democrats intend to spend more money in the district as the 2018 campaign heats up.
“At this stage in the game, elections are about what the decision makers are doing and seeing,” he said.