Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DSCC Targets NM in Medicare Ads

National Democrats are targeting Republican candidates running for Jeff Bingaman’s Senate seat in a series of Internet ads about Medicare being released Wednesday.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is running ads against Republican Senate candidates in eight battleground states.

The ads, which will appear on Google searches, Facebook and other online sites “demand” that former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez “tell GOP leaders in Washington to take the Republican plan to end Medicare off the table in ongoing debt-ceiling negotiations.”

The unpopular Ryan budget is stressed in the ads. Ryan's plan would make a drastic change in Medicare, starting with those who turn 65 in 2022. At that time, under the proposal, Medicare beneficiaries would choose a private health insurance plan from a special :Medicare exchange.” The federal government would kick in an average of $8,000 toward the annual premium.

Last month when I asked for their opinions on the Ryan plan, neither Wilson nor Sanchez actually endorsed the proposal. Wilson criticized Democrats for not coming up with what she called a “realistic” plan of their own for Medicare.

Democrats — buoyed by a surprise victory in a special Congressional election last month over a Republican in a heavy GOP district see the Medicare issue as huge stick with which to clobber Republicans.

On one hand, the Ryan budget is poison to older voters, who tend to vote in large numbers. On the other, the Ryan plan is hugely popular with the conservative GOP base — which tends to dominate Republican primaries.

A spokesman for the DSCC declined to say how much money the group is spending for the Internet ads.
In addition to New Mexico, other states with Senate races being targeted in the DSCC online campaign are Virginia, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, Massachusetts (where Scott Brown was one of the few Republican senators to vote against the Ryan budget), Florida and Ohio.

Besides Wilson and Sanchez, lesser known Republicans running for Senate are Greg Sowards and Bill English.

Democrats running include U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, state Auditor Hector Balderas and Albuquerque activist Andres Valdez. Bingaman is retiring at the end of his term, which is over at the end of next year.