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Forecasters See Democrat Gains After Health Care Vote

A political forecasting group has stated that the vote by Republicans May 4 to pass President Donald Trump's health care reform bill will have a negative impact on the party at the midterm elections.

The Cook Political Report released a newsletter in which it downgraded Republicans' chances in 20 congressional seats up for election in 2018, The Hill reported.

"Republicans' 217-213 vote passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) ... guarantees Democrats will have at least one major on the record vote to exploit in the next election," the newsletter said.

The Cook Political Report changed its classification of three districts from leaning Republican to toss up. An additional 11 seats moved from likely Republican to lean, and a further six from strong Republican to likely Republican.

"Not only did dozens of Republicans in marginal districts just hitch their names to an unpopular piece of legislation, Democrats just received another valuable candidate recruiting tool," it added.

The AHCA has received low popularity scores in polls. The Congressional Budget Office projected that its previous incarnation in March, before amendments, could remove health care coverage from 24 million people.

"House Republicans' willingness to spend political capital on a proposal that garnered the support of just 17 percent of the public in a March Quinnipiac poll is consistent with past scenarios that have generated a midterm wave," said the Cook Political Report.

Democrats have already begun targeting Republicans who backed the measure, seeking to use the vote as a means to generate fundraising for Democrat candidates for the 2018 elections.

Democrats sent out a series of fundraising appeals and, according to The Atlantic, the party raised more than $1.2 million by 10:27 a.m. EST on May 5.

Some observers noted this is comparatively little money when compared to fundraising efforts by individual candidates.

But Democrats believe the Trump era has seen an increase in online donations that could help fund the 2018 campaign.

"The reaction to the Trump administration and the surge in action is unlike anything we've seen before," a Democratic-leaning blog post noted, according to The Atlantic.

One state where Democrats hope to make gains is California, where all 14 Republican House representatives voted for the measure. Half of these represent districts that backed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

However, Republicans maintain they are fulfilling a campaign pledge.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California defended his vote for the AHCA, saying his constituents needed protection from the Affordable Care Act and that this was "the time to make it right," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Sources: The Hill, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

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