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Dems launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill

The House Democrats’ campaign arm on Friday launched a bilingual campaign to shore up support among voters in swing districts, touting a drug pricing bill that passed the House the day before. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) digital ad campaign will feature ads in Spanish and a mix of both Spanish and English — Spanglish — targeting Hispanics, who are disproportionately affected by high prescription drug costs.

It will be shown in 11 Democratic-held districts, seven in Spanish and the rest in “Spanglish,” and in eight GOP-held districts, four in each format.

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There will also be an English-language version of the ad in key battleground districts.

The ad will tout H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a legislative priority of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that passed the House on a largely party-line 230-192 vote Thursday.

All Democrats present voted for the bill; two Republicans, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Jaime Herrera-Beutler (Wash.), voted with Democrats.

The DCCC attack ad will air in the districts held by Reps. Dave Schweikert (Ariz.), Devin Nunes (Calif.), Scott Tipton (Colo.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Brian Mast (Fla.), Mike McCaul (Texas), Chip Roy (Texas), and John Carter (Texas).

In a short eight-second animation, the Spanglish version of that ad reads, “Los republicanos just voted against lowering the cost of prescription drugs!”

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A similar version will run in Democratic-held districts that reads, “Los demócratas just voted to lower the cost of prescription drugs!”

The pro-Democrat ads will run in the districts held by Reps. Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Josh Harder (Calif.), TJ Cox (Calif.), Gil Cisneros (Calif.), Jason Crow (Colo.), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Fla.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Steven Horsford (Nev.), Lizzie Fletcher (Texas), and Colin Allred (Texas).

The ads run in Texas and California will not feature the members’ names to comply with state campaign blackouts, in other states the names will be featured in the ads.

H.R. 3 would allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices, a top Democratic campaign promise.

Mucarsel-Powell told The Hill on Thursday the bill is “monumental.”

“[The bill] provided $50 billion in savings and what’s important for a lot of people in my community is that you can use a lot of those savings to reinvest in community health clinics to provide primary care,” she said.

The bill is unlikely to be taken up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but the DCCC campaign is a first taste of how Democrats hope to reach Hispanic voters on an issue that regularly ranks among the top concerns for the demographic group.

“I don’t expect for Mitch McConnell in the Senate to agree with every word of every bill that we send them, but I do expect them to actually hold hearings, offer amendments and do their job,” said Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), a Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) member who flipped a Republican seat in 2018.

Still, some Republicans in Latino-heavy districts say they can reach their electorate on the merits of voting against the proposal.

“If you look at the overall impact of H.R. 3 versus what we’re trying to propose, we’ve got a better pathway to take for the long term,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), who won his agricultural, 40 percent Hispanic district in 2014.

Newhouse added that the Republican proposal balances support for expensive medical research with lowering prescription drug prices, a message that “may be more difficult to get across, but I think we can do that.”

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