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Health-care ruling prompts Mack, Nelson to appeal for money to defeat each other

July 1, 2012
From The Naples Daily News

There's one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on about the Supreme Court's health-care ruling: It makes for great campaign fodder.

In the hours following the 5-4 ruling to uphold the health-care law, candidates across the country began appearing on television and sending emails to supporters outlining their position and, in some cases, attacking their opponent.

With about four months until Election Day, political analysts said it's unlikely the back-and-forth over the controversial law will die down.

"It has demonstrated staying power," said John Knowles, an election expert and Ave Maria School of Law spokesman. "It's very unlikely that will change."

Democrats and Republicans across the country immediately launched fundraising appeals off the court's decision, underscoring the campaign ramifications of a judicial decision.

Jeff Cohen, campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Connie Mack's Senate bid, sent out the campaign's first fundraising email to supporters around 2 p.m. The email asked supporters "to help make sure Connie has the resources he needs to beat liberal Senator Bill Nelson."

Cohen's fundraising request followed an email sent to reporters earlier in the day that blasted Nelson for his support of the law.

"Bill Nelson cast the deciding vote on the largest tax ever placed on the American people and he will be held accountable in November by all Floridians," Mack said in his initial statement. "When he cast the deciding vote of Obamacare, Bill Nelson said this 'would help the nation's deficit.' Bill Nelson knew this was a tax, supported it and has put our nation on the road to Greece. Shame on you Senator Nelson."

Mack's team wasn't alone in using the decision as a way to bring in donations. Nelson sent an email to supporters applauding the decision and asking for financial support to continue his work.

"We're up against some very powerful right-wing corporate interests that are willing to spend whatever it takes to try to defeat us," Nelson said in his message to supporters. "I don't know that we can match them dollar-for-dollar. But if we stand together we can answer every misleading attack they throw our way."

While the role the Supreme Court decision will play in Florida's U.S. Senate race may be clear, experts said it's harder to determine how it will play out in the race to replace Mack in the U.S. House of Representatives. In that case, Knowles said, the most contested battle will take place in the primary when six Republicans will go head-to-head with each other.

"Everyone voices the same opinion on this matter," he said.

That same opinion: Repeal the legislation.

Peter J. Bergerson, profesor, Florida Gulf Coast University.

All six candidates - Gary Aubuchon, Joe Davidow, Byron Donalds, Chauncey Goss, Paige Kreegel and Trey Radel - vying for the Republican nomination in August said they would favor repealing the legislation.

But repealing the legislation may be nothing more than an ideal hope, said Peter Bergerson, a political science professor at Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero.

"They may attempt to repeal, but it isn't going to go anyplace," he said. "It's going to appeal ... to those that are part of the Republican base."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Thursday the House will vote July 11 on whether to repeal the law. Those efforts, though, have virtually no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

And, even with the looming vote on whether to repeal the law, Bergerson said Thursday's decision may have little effect on the general election.

"One of the things about the Supreme Court decision is by the time it comes to the November election, other than the die-hards on both sides of the issues, I think it will be accepted," he said. "It was written by the chief justice, it was read by the chief justice ... I think the public, for the most part, supports the decision of the Supreme Court."

__ The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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