Political Notebook

Billboards, ads target Valadao on health care vote

A Democratic super political action committee is launching an ad campaign attacking Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, on his 2017 vote to replace the Affordable Care Act with a Republican-engineered health care plan.

The Republican plan, known as the American Health Care Act of 2017, passed in the House but was ultimately voted down by the Senate.

The eight-week campaign by House Majority PAC will consist of two billboards – one along Highway 180 in Mendota and another on Highway 99 just north of Pixley. Both claim 60,500 of Valadao's constituents would have lost health care had this legislation passed and point motorists toward a website, valadaovalues.com, that further attacks Valadao on health care and how often his votes line up with the agenda of President Donald Trump.

Valadao's district favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump by nearly 16 percentage points.

Several attempts to reach Valadao's campaign for comment on Friday were not successful.

The campaign will include two digital ads, one in English and one in Spanish, that each say Valadao "betrayed" Central Valley residents with his vote. The ads will also run as a radio spot.

House Majority spokeswoman Hannah Blatt would not say how much was spent on the advertisements.

Valadao was among the last members of Congress to choose a side on the contentious and highly publicized health care vote.

Valadao billboard
Two billboards carrying this message aimed at Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, will be unveiled in Mendota and Kern County this week. House Majority PAC

In an Op-Ed published in The Bee, Valadao said he voted for the American Health Care Act in part because of rising costs in his district, which is among the poorest in the nation.

"Obamacare’s devastating impact on the health-care industry effectively reduced access to health-care services and treatment for entire communities.," Valadao said. "Possession of an insurance card does not equate to health-care services and medical treatment."

He added that the Republican plan would have cut costs while improving access, as many health care providers were not accepting patients insured by the Affordable Care Act.

Monday's campaign is the latest instance of outside money pouring into California's 21st District, as Democrats covet Valadao's seat perhaps as much as any in the state. The Latino-majority district leans Democrat by a staggering 17-point margin.

And yet Valadao remains since first winning the seat in 2012 – supported by a base that votes across party lines year after year for an accessible candidate who has a history of drafting and supporting hyper-local legislation.

Early results from the June 5 primary election show Valadao ahead of challenger TJ Cox by 27 percentage points – 34,448 votes to 19,673.

Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics
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