Republicans turn up the heat on Pete Gallego in close 23rd District contest

Republicans turn up the heat on Pete Gallego in close 23rd District contest

Houston Chronicle

Richard Dunham

September 25, 2012

With public polling showing a tight race in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District — and a Spanish-language debate scheduled for tonight — Republican committees have launched an aerial bombardment of Democratic challenger Pete Gallego.

The Republican Party’s official House campaign committee was joined by a congressional Super PAC in an attempt to tie the Democratic nominee to President Obama’s health-care law. Gallego, a state representative from Alpine, did not vote on the 2010 law known widely as Obamacare, although both GOP committees blame him for $716 billion in Medicare cost savings that are contained in the law.

The Congressional Leadership Fund’s $330,00 television and digital ad buy portrays Gallego’s record on healthcare and taxes as “disturbing.”

“While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, once voters take a look at Pete Gallego’s record, they sure aren’t going to like what they see,” said Zach Hunter, a CLF spokesman.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s 30-second ad focuses on Medicare, an issue that has been cutting in favor of Democrats in some swing districts. The GOP accuses Gallego of favoring “the government takeover of healthcare that cuts Medicare by $716 billion.”

The advertisement is narrated by a woman speaking English with a Spanish accent. A majority of district voters are Mexican-Americans.

The Obama campaign have accused the Republicans of lying about Medicare, saying that the cuts contained in the Democratic healthcare law are similar to cuts proposed by Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Calling the cuts “cost savings,” Democrats say the savings will come from caps on reimbursements to health-service providers, not to individual seniors. Republicans say that elderly Americans will bear the cost of the Democratic cuts.

Democrats, of course, have accused Romney and Ryan of planning to “end Medicare as we know it,” citing Ryan’s budget proposal that turned Medicare into a voucher program for Americans below the age of 55. The Romney campaign emphasized that all of today’s seniors, plus baby boomers born before 1958 would not be affected by the proposed changes.

Gallego has been endorsed by the PAC of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and his campaign spokeswoman, Rebecca Acuña, called the incumbent anti-senior.

“We already know that Quico does not believe in retirement,” Acuña said, referring to an earlier comment by the San Antonio Republican. “Along with that, tonight`s debate will be an opportunity for Quico to explain to seniors why he does not believe in healthcare, either. He may also want to use this Spanish debate to explain why he regularly campaigns with Lamar Smith, who proudly advocates that ballots and other government services not be provided in Spanish.

“Congressman Canseco’s comments are an insult not only to seniors, but just as importantly to our veterans and active-duty military. All of them have paid their dues to make our country what it is. Seniors have paid into the system their entire lives. Men and women in the armed forces risk their very lives so that we can enjoy freedom. The least we could do is make sure they have access to quality health care when they come home.”