GOP's Obamacare Lawsuits Boost Democrats Vying for State AG

September 20, 2018

By Alice Miranda Ollstein

Democrats believe they have their best chance in years to flip crucial state attorney general seats by trumpeting the same message that drew furious protesters to town halls and to the polls last year: Republicans are trying to take away your health care.

These down-ballot races usually fly under the radar, but they are front and center in 2018 as many Democratic officeholders have turned the positions into the cornerstone of resistance to President Donald Trump, challenging dozens of his policies in court, from the separation of immigrant families at the border, to the ban on travel from several Muslim countries, to the crackdown on marijuana sales in states that legalized the drug.

With a blue wave already forecast for this November’s midterm elections, and the battle over the Affordable Care Act now playing out in the courts rather than in Congress, Democrats seeking to claim as many as a half dozen attorney general seats are using a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican AGs to abolish Obamacare as a political battering ram — highlighting its threat to the health law’s popular protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The lawsuit has already injected unexpected energy and cash into many of the 30-plus races across the country for state attorneys general — a dozen of which are seen as competitive. Democratic challengers in battleground states like Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona are attacking the incumbents for bringing the lawsuit and vowing to withdraw their states from the case or join with states defending Obamacare.

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