Highest inflation rates hit states with key Senate races, put Democrats on the spot in several races and have Democrats worried about whether they can take back the Senate.
Democrats took control of the House in the 1994 midterms, taking seats including Pennsylvania’s at-large and open-seat races, as well as California’s newly redrawn 49-49 Senate race. Since then, the party has seen its control of the Senate whittled in half, with the GOP taking five seats in 2006 and seven in 2012.
“I’d say this is not an unexpected result of how the Affordable Care Act is working,” said Mike Schrimpf, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Democrats will be eager to capitalize on the law’s success once it’s fully phased in.”
Democrats have been watching the GOP’s health care law, passed in 2010 and fully implemented in 2014, with much trepidation.
“I’m surprised to hear how much Democrats have invested in this battle,” said Bob Walters, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. “It’s all about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for Pennsylvania.”
Many Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, hope to capitalize on the law’s popularity as the Senate considers legislation to lower prescription drug costs that’s stalled or has failed.
In Pennsylvania, where drug prices are set by state law, Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, announced the Senate Health Committee would hold a hearing on the issue next month.
“We’re making good on our promise to find ways to lower drug costs in Pennsylvania,” Casey said Sunday in a news release.
Democrats also control the Senate in Oregon, where the new GOP governor, John Kitzhaber, is seeking re-election.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, both said in interviews that they hope to use the public health care law to bolster