Politics & Policy

Requiem for Markey (CO-4): Flip-Flop on Health Care Could Prove Decisive

Freshman Democratic incumbent Rep. Betsy Markey, along with 7 other Democrats, took a gamble on a vote-switch on the health care bill–changing from opposition to support–and that risk will most likely result in defeat on November 2:

“I voted for it before I voted against it.”

It’s a quote that many cite as Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) downfall in the 2004 presidential election. (He was talking about funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

When it comes to this year’s health care vote, however, it turns out it may be more harmful to have voted against it before you voted for it.

That’s a lesson Democrats are learning in the eight districts where the party’s incumbent congressman voted against the first version of the health care bill last November before voting in favor of the second — and final — version in March. (In almost every case, the member came under heavy pressure from the White House and Democratic leadership to cast a “yea” vote.)

Of those eight seats, Democrats are favored to hold just one after next Tuesday’s election. Three or four of the other seven look to be lost causes, and the rest appear increasingly tough for Democrats.

Meanwhile, there were five Democrats who flipped from “yes” on the first bill to “no” on final passage. And, by comparison, they’re looking pretty good. […]

* Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.): Markey was in a tough electoral spot from the get-go — due to the conservative leaning of her district. She switched her vote, saying she had been satisfied by its deficit-reduction elements. Apparently, her district wasn’t;  a poll from GOP-leaning American Action Forum showed voters in Colorado’s 4th district opposed the bill by a 17-point margin. In the end, her switch didn’t even get her financial support from the national party, which appears to be conceding this one.


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