The Republican Obamacare replacement bill is proving to be absolute poison on the campaign trail, where party candidates range from noncommittal to downright hostile.
“I am against it,” said Corey Stewart, who is battling for the Republican nomination in the Virginia governor’s race. “It doesn’t go far enough. Look, a bunch of politicians in Washington are never going to be able to create an efficient one-size-fits-all health care system.”
The plan also has been met with disdain in Georgia, where 11 Republicans are running for the seat left vacant by President Trump’s health and human services secretary. Several of the candidates — including Amy Kremer and Bob Gray — have panned the plan as “Obamacare-lite” and said conservatives instead should deliver on the full repeal they promised on the campaign trail.
For Republican leaders already having a tough time selling their bill in Washington, the last thing they need is a steady dose of negative reaction from candidates running in elections back home.
“The Republicans on the Hill are trying to put out the fire, and these guys are throwing accelerant on the fire,” said Ford O’Connell, a party strategist.
“You are shooting yourself and the long-term prospects for President Trump in the foot when you do this,” he said, arguing that Republicans need to show they can govern. “These guys have to grow a backbone, hold the line and see the big picture because the more successful Trump is, the more successful they will be.”