WASHINGTON — House Republicans are suddenly bullish on their midterm election prospects thanks to an abysmal rollout of Obamacare and lingering questions about the law's viability.
It's a remarkable turn around for a party that a month ago was bracing for an ugly 2014 cycle thanks to the government shutdown.
Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee said Obamacare will be the "dominant" issue of the 2014 election season and any Democrat that supported the bill, especially those who helped spread the "you can keep it if you like it" idea, better watch out.
"These people are getting caught red-handed," Walden told reporters during a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "They're co-conspirators in that. You can't get away from that."
He pointed to Democrats like Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader — who was recently caught deleting a page on his website that said his constituents could keep their health insurance plans if they chose to — who will be forced to answer for the early failures of Obamacare.
"This is a hurricane of mammoth proportion that's going to strike everybody," Walden said.
Even if the website is fixed, Walden pointed to the issues of rising premiums and people whose longtime doctors will suddenly be removed from their network as key points that will continue to make Obamacare a top talking point for Republican challengers in the midterms.
The health care law will be a bigger focus in some districts than others depending on the particular race and how it plays out. But Walden said for the most part candidates will come in swinging, ready to attack any Democrat they consider on the wrong side of the law.
"I'm not ready to say this is going to be a wave election," Walden said. "But it could get there."
Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
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