The passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) through the U.S. House of Representatives has created an advertising face-off between supporters and opponents.
American Action Network (AAN), a Republican nonprofit close to House Speaker Paul Ryan, launched a $2 million TV ad campaign following the successful May 4 vote on the AHCA. AAN has already spent $10 million on digital, TV, radio and direct-mail ads in support of the legislation.
This new buy will run in 21 districts and tout legislators’ support for the AHCA. The TV ads appear largely uniform until the end — when viewers are asked to thank their particular member of Congress: “Thank Congressman David Valadao for fighting for healthcare we deserve.”
"AAN doesn’t anticipate spending one penny on members who chose not to side with President Trump and Speaker Ryan in passing conservative, historic health-care reforms," AAN executive director Corry Bliss told Politico.
Only Republicans who supported the bill will be the beneficiaries of a $7 million fund, which AAN is using for healthcare-related ads over the next few months.
Democratic candidates have also addressed the AHCA, attacking the loss of coverage and affordability.
For instance, former Congressman Tom Perriello, a candidate for Governor of Virginia, released an ad in which he speaks proudly of his vote for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Ambulance shows Perriello speaking in front of an ambulance being crushed by a compactor -- a scene he uses as a metaphor for what Republicans will do to affordable health care.
Democrats are conceptualizing possible 2018 midterm ads, based on several GOP realities: the AHCA's unpopularity; the firing of FBI director James Comey; and ongoing investigations into Russian-Trump campaign collusion. The latest Quinnipiac poll on Wednesday showed President Trump's approval rating at near historic lows, with a 36% approval rating.
Business Insider noted the poll could mean a big loss for congressional Republicans in the 2018 midterms: 54% of respondents said they wanted Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives, compared to 38% who want Republicans to maintain it.