Liberal Groups Target Arkansas Democrats Over Public Option

Posted September 18, 2009 at 11:15am

Updated: 1:41 p.m.Two liberal groups are asking supporters to help bankroll television ads targeting Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) for their opposition to a public insurance option in the health care overhaul.In separate e-mail solicitations on Friday, FDL Action and Change Congress include video of their respective spots and ask for donations to get them on the air in the Natural State. The push comes as liberal groups are trying to preserve the provision, which is included in four of five committee versions of the reform package but faces strong opposition from some moderates.In its 30-second spot, FDL Action, the newly formed political action committee for the liberal blog Firedoglake, charges Lincoln and Ross — both moderates — with doing the bidding of “the health insurance industry and their allies— by opposing the public insurance option. It points to a recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll showing 80 percent of the state’s Democrats support it. “Stand with Arkansas Democrats now, or we’ll find someone who will,— it concludes. Lincoln is up for a third term in 2010; Ross, the chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition health care task force, is up for a sixth House term.FDL Action is hoping to raise $78,000 to air its ad in the Little Rock media market and on cable television throughout the 4th district. By Friday afternoon, the group had raised more than $15,000 through the liberal fundraising clearinghouse ActBlue.Change Congress is hoping to raise $15,000 to air a one-minute ad targeting Ross for declaring he would oppose any bill that included a public insurance option after he brokered a deal that preserved it in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The spot says Ross has raised $921,000 from “the health sector— over the course of his career, followed by a clip of the lawmaker complaining about the burden of fundraising. It challenges him to co-sponsor a bill that replaces privately funded elections with a public campaign finance system.According to officials at Change Congress, the group had raised $3,000 for the ad within three hours of releasing its solicitation.