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Vulnerable California Republicans find themselves at center of healthcare bill persuasion efforts

Seven California Republicans are among the 23 Republicans nationwide who represent House districts that chose Hillary Clinton for president. Now they find themselves at the center of the debate over the proposed House GOP healthcare bill.

While Republicans hold a large majority in the House, more than two dozen GOP defectors would be enough to keep the bill from passing. And after an independent analysis found 24 million fewer Americans would have health insurance by 2026 under the GOP plan, support for the bill seems shakier than ever.

Support was already wobbly among far-right Republicans who say the bill doesn’t really overturn President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, and some centrist Republicans are nervous about fallout because of the millions of people expected to lose insurance.

That has turned attention to shoring up, or pulling away, the votes of Republicans whose districts favored Clinton for the presidency.

Republican advocacy group American Action Network announced this week it is running $1.5 million in ads in some of the districts to push for the bill's passage, and nationally during MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."

One of the congressmen featured in the ads — Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) — said earlier this week that Republicans can do better and he is "not prepared" to support the GOP healthcare plan yet. Some other Republicans in the ads, such as Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) have either said they are still reviewing the bill, or haven’t made a public comment on it at all. Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) is the only California Republican who is being targeted by Democrats in 2018 who has indicated she supports the bill.

Liberal groups are putting on pressure as well. Local groups associated with the national group Indivisible have spent weeks demonstrating each Tuesday outside members' offices.

And MoveOn.org is holding day-long healthcare “stakeouts” outside 23 House offices and nine Senate offices Thursday and Friday. They'll feature constituents chanting and telling healthcare stories. The seven California Republican-led districts that went for Clinton are all on Moveon.org's list.

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