Less than 10 minutes after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, 13 conservative attorneys general filed a lawsuit to overturn the new legislation. In addition, multiple Republican governors bypassed their Democratic state attorneys general in order to join the suit.
At the time they filed the lawsuit, five of the plaintiffs were running for governor of their state. All five cited their lawsuit against health care reform as a central selling point in their campaigns. In South Carolina, Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) touted in multiple ads how “when President Obama and the Washington radicals pushed their unconstitutional takeover of health care, I pushed back.” Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox sounded the same tune, declaring in a commercial that he “led the fight against Obamacare.”
Last night, Cox became the third of these five Republicans to lose in his state’s gubernatorial primary. With a fourth is on track to lose later this month, only Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who faced nominal opposition, will have successfully won his primary after suing health care reform. The others have found that their frivolous lawsuits won them little favor among Republican primary voters:
- On August 3, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox lost his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, finishing a distant third place.
- On June 8, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster tanked in his gubernatorial bid and came in third with just 17 percent of the vote.
- Also on June 8, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, who went so far as to usurp the state attorney general and enlist an all-volunteer cadre of lawyers in order to sue the federal government, was swamped in his re-election bid, garnering just 27 percent.
- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who was so eager to be the first attorney general to sue the federal government over health care that he filed suit seven minutes after the bill was signed into law, finds himself wallowing in the polls and faces an uphill battle in Florida’s August 24 primary.
Though many conservatives believe that opposing health care reform is a political winner, primary election results continue to tell a different story.