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2018 electionCongressional races

Republicans are targeting California Democrats over single-payer healthcare

Democrats are widely expected to make Republican incumbents' efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act a major issue in the 2018. Now Republicans are going after challengers for some Democrats' support of a single-payer healthcare system.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching a digital ad Thursday morning targeting Democratic challengers on the issue.

The ad will run for two weeks and is specifically targeting Democratic candidates Bryan Caforio in the 25th District and Josh Harder in the 10th District, according to NRCC spokesman Jack Pandol.

The ad doesn't mention either of them by name, though it prominently features Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi throughout.

Pandol said Caforio and Harder are the targets of the ad because they "aren’t being up front with the progressive base and mainstream voters about their position on single-payer. They can’t escape taking a position on this forever."

“Harder hasn’t made a statement on single-payer healthcare, but Caforio’s campaign manager recently told The Times he supports it and he has said in a fundraising pitch and a news release that he will fight for a “Medicare for all” approach.

Caforio and Harder are among several candidates running in each of their districts. They've also raised the most money among prospective challengers in their races, according to campaign finance reports.

State lawmakers have debated creating a single-payer system in California, but the effort has been put on hold and members of Congress aren't directly involved.

The 58-second ad is targeted toward swing voters in the districts who are using Facebook on a mobile phone, Pandol said.

Both of the districts are among the seven in California that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump for president last year, but also sent their Republican Congress members back to Washington.

In the 10th District, Rep. Jeff Denham (Turlock) won in 2016 by 3.4%. In the 25th District, Rep. Steve Knight (Palmdale) won by 6.2%.

UPDATE

3:17 p.m.: This post has been updated with more information about Caforio's statements.

Times staff writer Javier Panzar contributed to this report.

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