Hapless Rep. Jeff Denham walked right into the Democrat’s trap. Clueless.
The Tuesday morning event was billed as “coffee and casual conversation” with Denham. But after the Turlock Republican made an 11th-hour decision to support the GOP health care bill last week, many of the 100 people lined up before the doors opened weren’t feeling casual and didn’t need caffeine to get amped up.
They wanted to know how Denham could back a bill that could lead to 109,000 of his constituents — like them — losing Medi-Cal coverage and threaten 7,000 health care jobs in a district with high unemployment. Several said Denham’s aides had told them as recently as a day before the House vote that he would oppose the bill. But on Tuesday, the congressman said some last-minute provisions made him more comfortable voting for it.
“He flipped at the last minute,” said Wayne Adler, a Manteca (San Joaquin County) resident who carried a sign that read, “Denham lies/CA (District) 10 dies.”
And while the legislation may pose serious questions about health care, a life-and-death question for some voters, it also raises real political danger for Denham.
He is one of seven California House Republicans whom Democrats are targeting in the 2018 midterm elections, in part by tying him to the health care vote and the fact that he votes in line with President Trump’s positions 100 percent of the time, according to Fivethirtyeight.com.
They hope outrage over those positions will help flip a district that Hillary Clinton won in November and Denham carried by only 8,201 votes. Then again, Democrats have been trying unsuccessfully to replace Denham since he was first elected in 2011 in a swing district where 40 percent of the popultion is Latino and the unemployment rate is 18 percent.
Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle