On Thursday, the Koch brothers unveiled a $2.5 million ad campaign against Democratic women up for reelection in 2014. The campaign, launched through the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, targets Kay Hagen of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Jeanne Shaheen of North Carolina, and the primary cudgel the Koch brothers are using to hammer them is — wait for it, because you totally won’t see it coming — Obamacare!
All three ads focus on the now-debunked “you can keep your health plan if you like it” claim that President Obama made prior to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a claim that all three senators parroted at one point.
The attack line is somewhat undercut, however, by a study from earlier this week showing that the number of Americans who will actually have their insurance policies canceled is far less than was originally estimated — 10,000 people, compared with the GOP’s original claims of 5 million. It’s true that 5 million additional people won’t have insurance next year — but that’s due to Republican governors rejecting free Medicaid money in Obamacare, not because of anything Hagen, Landrieu or Shaheen did.
Being Democrats in red states, Hagen and Landrieu are in particularly tough positions for reelection. Hagen is essentially tied with all of her potential GOP opponents; Landrieu has a small lead over her most likely Republican challenger.
Shaheen leads her strongest possible Republican opponent by only 4 points, but there’s a catch: That opponent is Scott Brown, who’s most notable for being a Senator from Massachusetts. After serving half a term, Brown was defeated for reelection by Elizabeth Warren; however, he recently sold his house in Massachusetts and announced that he’s moving to New Hampshire, leading many to suspect that he’ll make a go for Shaheen’s seat. While he’s currently polling strongly, voters generally want their representatives to actually come from the state they’re representing, and he’ll inevitable face (well-founded) charges of carpetbagging if he challenges Shaheen.
The 30-second ads will run for three weeks in the Senators’ home states.