ELECTION 2014: Vincent Sheheen asks Chris Christie to pull RGA ads

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on March 3, 2014 

Screenshot from a television commercial paid by the Republican Governors Association for Gov. Nikki Haley.

— State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the expected S.C. Democratic candidate for governor, sent a letter to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, after the group started a television ad campaign for Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday.

The ad criticizes Sheheen for wanting to accept President Barack Obama's expanded health-care plan that proponents say helps millions of uninsured Americans get health coverage and critics say is a costly burden to states. Haley, who sits on the RGA executive committee, has rejected the program expansion.

Sheheen noted that Christie has accepted money to expand Medicaid in the state.

"You and I have the same position on this issue -- keep our own federal tax dollars working for the people of our states," the Camden attorney wrote. "Then today, the Republican Governors Association, which you chair, launched attack ads against me for taking the same position that you and seven other GOP governors have taken on Medicaid expansion."

Sheheen asked Christie to stop running the ads: "If, as you predicted, that choice to reclaim your state’s tax dollars has benefited New Jersey."

The RGA's statewide television campaign includes an estimated $200,000 in a first round of ad buys.

This is the second round of ads supporting Haley that go after Sheheen's support of the Affordable Care Act. The Movement Fund, a pro-Haley political group, spent about $300,000 to air television spots a year ago.

Sheheen's letter to Christie

Dear Governor Christie,

A governor’s job is to lead and act in the best interest of the people of their state. You rightly made that argument last year when you chose to expand Medicaid in New Jersey.

You said: “Accepting these federal resources will provide health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income New Jerseyans, help keep our hospitals financially healthy and actually save money for New Jersey taxpayers…[it] is the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health….Refusing these federal dollars would not mean that they wouldn't be spent. It just means that they will be used to expand health-care access in New York, Connecticut, Ohio or somewhere else. ... It’s simple. We’re putting people first.”

Just five days ago, you affirmed your position in your budget address – saying you were “proud” to have expanded Medicaid in New Jersey.

You and I have the same position on this issue—keep our own federal tax dollars working for the people of our states.

Then today, the Republican Governors Association, which you Chair, launched attack ads against me for taking the same position that you and seven other GOP Governors have taken on Medicaid expansion.

The RGA ad claims that the choice to bring our tax dollars back in-state would hurt South Carolina. So, I ask you: How many jobs has New Jersey lost as a result of your decision to accept your Medicaid dollars? How many New Jersey businesses have been harmed by your choice to put your state’s tax dollars to work back at home? And how much has this expansion cost the taxpayers of New Jersey?

Independent research has shown that bringing South Carolinians’ hard-earned tax dollars back into our state would create 44,000 jobs and boost South Carolina’s economy. The South Carolina Hospital Association has stated that, “The evidence is overwhelming that expanding Medicaid will be good for people and good for business in South Carolina.” They have joined with health care providers around the state to warn of the loss of thousands of jobs and the negative economic ripple effect that will be felt throughout local communities as a result of the choice not to take the expansion. Editorial boards and local Chambers of Commerce have told us that the only reason someone would oppose the expansion is politics, pure and simple.

So please – provide us with the numbers on the impact that your choice to accept federal Medicaid dollars has had on New Jersey to clarify this matter once and for all. And if, as you predicted, that choice to reclaim your state’s tax dollars has benefited New Jersey, then I call on you to have the RGA take down this misleading attack ad.

The problem with Washington, DC and national politics in general is hypocrisy. Leaders driven by self-interest who disregard facts in favor of ideology are no leaders at all. And all of our states deserve better than these kinds of hypocritical and underhanded tactics.

I look forward to your response.

Thank you, Vincent Sheheen

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