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Democrats target Collins with first web ad of 2018 campaign

WASHINGTON — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week will target Rep. Chris Collins, a prominent supporter of both President Trump and the failed Republican health care bill, with the group's first web ad of the 2018 campaign season.

Collins, R-Clarence, represents New York's 27th district, a reliably Republican stretch of suburbs and countryside between Buffalo and Rochester. But the Democratic group said in January that it would target Collins in 2018, and that effort begins with the web ad, which rips into Collins for his vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee in favor of the health legislation.

"Rep. Collins knowingly voted for a bill to raise premiums and deductibles, slap an age tax on older folks, and rip insurance away from 24 million hardworking Americans," said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M. "It’s critical that voters know where their representative stood on this legislation.”

The ad opens with old campaign footage of Trump saying that under his health care plan, "everybody's going to be taken care of, much better than they're taken care of now."

And then it transitions into details about the GOP health plan, which party leaders dumped last week because they couldn't win votes for its passage in the House.

The ad shows Chris Wallace of Fox News telling House Speaker Paul Ryan: "Your plan makes it unaffordable for people."

Then the ad notes that 24 million Americans would have lost health coverage under the plan, that it would have made health care more expensive for some people aged 50 to 64, and that it included a tax break for insurance company executives.

"And Chris Collins voted yes?" the DCCC narrator asks. "You deserve better."

Asked for comment, Collins' congressional spokesman deferred to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the DCCC's GOP counterpart.

Chris Pack, an NRCC spokesman, derided the Democratic ad as an unsurprising product of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's national campaign committee. Pack also noted that during debate on the health bill, Collins worked to add an amendment that would have barred New York State from charging upstate and Long Island counties for part of the cost of Medicaid, which counties now fund through property taxes.

“Nancy Pelosi’s campaign arm clearly doesn’t understand the crippling effects that both Obamacare and skyrocketing property taxes have had on Western New York families and businesses," Pack said. "Chris Collins should be applauded for moving the debate forward on both of these ticking time bombs before they explode.”

The Democratic campaign committee expects the ad to go live Monday on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It will target swing voters aged 35 and older, local grassroots activists and those who have engaged with the topic of "health care" on social media.

The DCCC will also aim similar ads at 13 other Republican House members who voted for the health bill in committee.

Rep. John Faso, the Kinderhook Republican who teamed with Collins on the amendment involving Medicaid and county property taxes, is the only other New York State lawmaker targeted.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Corning Republican whom Democrats have targeted in the past, will not be targeted in the ad campaign despite his support for the measure in the House Ways and Means Committee.

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