Former N.Y. Gov. Pataki looks to use ObamaCare to get out the vote
Former New York Republican Gov. George Pataki has a plan to tap into voter anger over the health care reform law and help drive turnout in tight races this November.
His group, Revere America, plans to spend several million dollars to target about half a dozen tight House races around the country where the incumbent Democrat voted for the health care law.
A recent Rasmussen poll found 58 percent of voters favor repealing the law.
“The Democrats are trying to run away from ObamaCare, but the rest of us can’t because it’s the law of the country,” Pataki told The Daily Caller. “Now that we’re in the campaign season, one of the ways to do that is to defeat the Democratic members of Congress who voted for ObamaCare.”
Pataki continued: “They are going to try to pretend it doesn’t exist and get the voters to forget about it; we’re going to remind the voters that in select districts, their Democratic congressman voted for ObamaCare and that they should throw that person out and replace them with someone who will work with us to repeal and replace ObamaCare.”
Revere America plans to spend at least $5 million on an advertising campaign targeting key districts, which will involve television, print, radio and new media advertising.
It has already unveiled online a template for its television campaign called “Defeat Your Congressman.”
“It will remind the voters of two things: how bad ObamaCare is, how negatively it is going to affect health care in this country; and two that their member of Congress voted for that terrible law and that they should be defeated,” Pataki said.
Revere America is not publicizing yet what districts it plans to target, but Pataki said the number could increase as funds become available.
“We are going after districts where the elections have been close in the past and where the incumbent voted for ObamaCare, and we think they will be vulnerable,” Pataki said. “They are not going to want the voters to be reminded of the fact they voted for this horrific law that is going to negatively affect the health care of so many millions of Americans, but we are going to remind the voters of that fact.
“We need to elect people who believe ObamaCare is a terrible law and that it needs to be repealed and replaced.”
The group also has launched a petition drive to “repeal and replace” the law on its website, and it hopes to amass 1 million signatures by October 1. Revere America reports it has about 500,000 so far.
“We’re going to break those down by congressional district and make sure the people who are with us on repealing and replacing ObamaCare are registered and that they get out to vote,” Pataki said. “In every district that could mean a few thousand votes and actually make the difference between winning and losing. You never know what the outcome is until the votes are counted, but as we remind people how bad ObamaCare is and that their member of Congress voted for it.”
The third prong of Revere America’s strategy, currently under consideration, would involve sending seniors postcards informing them the health care law preserves Medicare Advantage only in Florida ̶ something Pataki believes violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause.
NEXT: Political guru Larry Sabato weighs in on Pataki’s campaign
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, dismisses Pataki’s effort as “a grain of sand on a large beach.”
He predicts well over $1 billion will be spent on the midterm elections and Revere America’s $5 million campaign will have minimal impact on the overall election.
“It can’t hurt in a few close races, but it won’t do anything to transform the political landscape,” Sabato said. “But $5 million isn’t very much considering between $3 and $4 million is spent in a single district between both major party candidates.”
Television and radio advertising is an inefficient way of getting turnout compared with ground campaigns that get voters to the polls, Sabato said.
Sabato similarly dismissed Pataki’s ability to motivate the conservative base due to his liberal stances on social and other issues, but he agrees health care will be a huge motivator in voter turnout.
“Pataki had a good chance of winning New York’s Senate seat this year if he had chosen to run, and his money would have been much better spent in that race,” Sabato said.