State of Texas: In Depth – Health care repeal energizes challengers for Congress


AUSTIN (KXAN) – As the final votes came in to pass the Republican bill to repeal key parts of the Affordable Care Act, a group of defeated Democrats broke out in song. “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” they sang, their voices rising as the final tally confirmed the GOP victory. Normally, that song’s for winners. Sports fans sing the chorus to taunt a losing team. Democrats chose the song to taunt the winners, because they believe the health care vote will put some Republicans on the losing side in the 2018 election.

Texas Democrats are trying to get in position to take advantage if anti-Republican sentiment grows. “We’ve seen that here in Texas with certain districts,” said Alana Rocha, a reporter for The Texas Tribune. “They’re preparing for 2013 and feel like this is a good bullet to get them going.” A few Democrats are challenging longtime GOP congressional incumbents Pete Sessions of Dallas and John Culberson of Houston.

“We will have at least three, maybe some more competitive districts to watch,” said Robert Garrett, the Austin Bureau Reporter for the Dallas Morning News. He pointed out that the lone Republican in the Texas delegation to vote against the repeal bill was Will Hurd, who represents U.S. House District 36, which is considered the most competitive district in Texas.

Anti-Trump sentiments encouraged some Democrats to run. Many of those candidates are looking to gain support because of the health care repeal vote. “They think they have in this health care vote the mirror image of the 2009 Affordable Care Act that Democrats cast,” Garrett said.

See the interview Sunday morning on State of Texas: In Depth.

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