Democrats launch Gillespie Care site
Gillespie says he opposes ACA, Kondick say Democrats seek to undermine Republican's credibility
“Democrats are aware of all these things, and so it’s no surprise that they are working right at the start of the campaign to try to undermine Gillespie’s credibility as a critic of Obamacare,” Kondik said.
Virginia Democrats launched a campaign website Thursday claiming that Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for Virginia Senate against incumbent Mark Warner, a Democrat, has been inconsistent in his stance on the Affordable Care Act.
The website, www.gillespiecare.com, claims that Gillespie supported aspects of the ACA, such as the individual mandate, when working as a lobbyist in 2007 but expressed opposition to them in 2014.
In bold font across the middle of the page, the site reads, “Ed Gillespie will advocate for individual mandate for the right price.”
Democratic spokesperson Ashley Bauman said Democrats created the site to highlight inconsistency in Gillespie’s past political decisions.
“The site was create to show the hypocrisy of Gillespie’s stance on the healthcare mandate,” Bauman said.
Gillespie Campaign spokesperson Paul Logan said Ed Gillespie is absolutely against the Affordable Care Act.
“Ed opposed Obamacare and its mandates and he would repeal and replace it,” Logan said in an email. “Mark Warner voted for it, and thinks it should stay. The [Democratic Party of Virginia’s] attacks have rightly been criticized in the media for ‘so much misrepresentation so early,’ and this latest attack is no exception.”
Bauman said the information used for the website all came from public record and was readily available to the public. Bauman said Democrats’ think Gillespie previously expressed different opinions about the ACA but has not discussed his reasons for the change.
“The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and if he’s going to change his stance on the mandate he needs to explain why,” Bauman said. “I think voters need to know now that he is changing his tune.”
Center for Politics spokesperson Kyle Kondik said this race will depend on voters’ overall sentiment about the two major political parties. Kondik said Gillespie is the underdog in this race against Mark Warner.
“One of the few things that could propel him to an upset victory would be a national Republican wave, where Republicans are picking up a lot of House and Senate seats all over the country,” Kondik said in an email. “A Republican wave would be based, at least partially, on widespread dissatisfaction with President [Barack] Obama and the Affordable Care Act.”
Kondik said the potential for overall discontent with the ACA is a concern for Democrats going into this year’s upcoming elections — something they are working to mitigate.
“Democrats are aware of all these things, and so it’s no surprise that they are working right at the start of the campaign to try to undermine Gillespie’s credibility as a critic of Obamacare,” Kondik said. “If the political environment in the fall is neutral or only a little Republican-leaning, Gillespie is going to have a really hard time beating Warner, who remains very popular in Virginia.”
Kondik said, on the whole, the overall climate is more in favor of a Democratic win at this time.
“We have the race rated ‘likely Democratic,’ meaning that we think Warner is a clear favorite, but of course he and the Democrats are not taking Gillespie’s challenge lightly. Nor should they,” he said. “If the environment is really pro-Republican, a wave could develop that even someone as popular as Mark Warner could have a hard time overcoming.”