Public opinion over healthcare reform may not necessarily drive the outcome of this year's elections, former-Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said during a speech in Washington.
Healthcare reform might not be pivotal election issue, DNC chairman says
Speculation has abounded that opposition to the health reform law may influence election outcomes for the Democrats this year, including primary elections. Still, the results of the special election held in Pennsylvania's 12th District seem to counteract that theory, Kaine said. Healthcare reform was “one of the signature issues” in the race between Democrat Mark Critz, a former aide to the late-Rep. John Murtha Jr., and Republican businessman Tim Burns, he said.
When asked if they would repeal healthcare reform, Burns immediately said he would, “and ran on that as his platform,” Kaine said.
While he may not have voted for the legislation, Critz responded that implementing the new reform law correctly was more important than repealing it, and that it was time to move on to other issues, Kaine said.
Republicans wanted to make this race a referendum on the president, “but whether repeal [of health reform] is an issue that will drive elections forward, it's clear that message didn't carry” with this special election, where Critz won nearly 54% of the vote, Kaine said.
Republicans want to do everything in their power “to drive us back into a ditch,” Kaine continued. They want to repeal healthcare, and cancel aspects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, “and we're not going to let that happen. That's why we're going to fight so hard for Democratic candidates across the country this election.”
Kaine acknowledged that incumbents from both parties face competitive primaries and potential losses this election season. Voters, still reeling from the deep recession, are going to set a higher standard for the people who run their country, he said.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.