RGA ad hits Democrat for backing Medicaid expansion … which RGA chair supports

March 3

Updated at 9:03 a.m. on March 3

All politics is local?

A new ad from the Republican Governors Association attacks the Democrat running for governor of South Carolina for supporting Obamacare, as well as its Medicaid expansion.

Left unsaid? Several GOP governors took that same Medicaid expansion, including ... RGA Chairman and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

The RGA launched its first TV ad of the 2014 cycle in South Carolina Monday, providing air reinforcements for potentially vulnerable Gov. Nikki Haley (R). The commercial goes after Haley's likely general election opponent state Sen. Vincent Sheheen on the issue of health care, including his support for Medicaid expansion, which Haley has opposed.

"Remember this guy, Sheheen? Well first, Sheheen supported much of Obamacare. But then he refused to support the lawsuit to stop it," says the narrator. "Now, Vincent Sheheen wants to use Obamacare for a $2 billion expansion of Medicaid in South Carolina."

While many Republican governors have rejected Medicaid expansion, a handful in key 2014 races have embraced some version of it, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).

The RGA plans to spend about $200,000 to air the commercial, according to a person tracking the ad buy who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

It's the third second state in which the RGA has hit the airwaves. The group recently launched its first ads in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker (R) faces a potentially competitive race, and Arkansas, where there is an open race. The Democratic Governors Association has hit the air in Michigan (Republican-controlled) and Arkansas (Democratic-controlled).

Republicans are defending 22 gubernatorial seats this year, compared to Democrats' 14.

Haley defeated Sheheen in a close contest in 2010. The governor's polling numbers have not been great, and Sheheen's campaign has impressed national Democrats. But South Carolina's conservative tilt will be tough for him to overcome. The Fix recently rated the South Carolina race as the seventh most likely governor's race to switch party control this fall.

Responding to news last week that the RGA was going up on the air in South Carolina, state Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Sosanie said, "Nikki Haley's in deep trouble and clearly the RGA knows it."

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