WASHINGTON — The effort to defeat Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is playing out this summer on multiple fronts, with new billboards springing up in his district from a super Pac, “The Nuisance Committee,” hitting him for his votes to repeal Obamacare.
The billboards — in Rolling Meadows, West Chicago and Crystal Lake — feature three families from his west suburban 6th Congressional District with serious health concerns and whose health insurance may be jeopardized if Republicans are successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The billboards show pictures of those families — the Strojnys, Sciortinos and Grovers — with the message, “Peter Roskam voted to take away my health care,” sending people to a website, Roskamvotedtotakemyhealthcare.com with the health stories from these people.
WHAT IS “THE NUISANCE COMMITTEE”?
The super Pac was officially spawned last August by a Chicago company, “Cards Against Humanity,” headquartered at 1917 N. Elston.
“Cards” was created in 2010 by eight friends – some Highland Park High School classmates — whose products test the limits, if there are any, of humor and satire. A motto of “Cards” is “a party game for horrible people.”
“Nuisance” donations all come from “Cards,” according to Federal Election Commission records. Last year, the super Pac created billboards, related websites and social media campaigns against Donald Trump.
“Cards” co-creator Max Temkin, who founded “Nuisance,” is up and coming in the Democratic donor world, with prior experience as a staffer in several political shops. Temkin’s grandfather, while in a German POW camp in World War II – with other Jewish POW’s – put together a “Nuisance Committee” to try to mess with the Germans holding them captive, hence the name.
WHY HIT ROSKAM ON HEALTH CARE?
Roskam has voted for years against Obamacare, with his most recent repeal vote last May. That’s when House Republicans — with only one vote to spare — advanced a bill to the Senate, where Obamacare repeal stalled, despite the GOP control of the upper chamber. Democrats are intent on keeping the heat on Roskam over health care, seeing it as a major vulnerability.
NEW THIS WEEK FROM THE DCCC
Roskam is a national Democratic top target in 2018 because Hillary Clinton won his district last November. The House Democratic political arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will start running Snapchat ads against him in the coming week — using, if all unfolds as planned — material from folks showing up at a Roskam district office to deliver a “report card” giving him failing grades on, among other issues, health care.
NEW THIS WEEK: ROSKAM AT REAGAN RANCH
Democrats continue to hit Roskam for not holding town halls, seeing it as a potent issue. Roskam is boxed in on this one. If he held an open town hall he would run an enormous political risk at this point because the event could be politically counterproductive for him.
With the Obamacare repeal fizzled for now, the next big item for Republicans is tax reform, and that plays to a strength of Roskam, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the group’s tax policy chair.
On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Roskam will be at the Ronald Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, with a handful of other Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee to talk about their plans to overhaul the tax code.
Roskam, who pops up most on business shows where he can talk about taxation, will be giving a very brief presentation at the ranch. The main event will be a speech from Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.
This is seen as an important messaging opportunity for the Ways and Means GOP members. Reporters from about 19 print and broadcast outlets, who are interested in tax policy, are expected to attend.
According to Roskam’s office, he has been in the district during most of the recess. He hosted 12 constituent meetings — a mix of individuals and groups — six roundtables; five visits to senior living facilities, and seven site visits to district employers.
So far, there are seven Democrats competing in the March 2018 Illinois Democratic primary, with a few more contenders likely. While this big primary field plays out, on another front, grass-and-net roots groups have banded together and are spending the summer canvassing and registering voters.
The Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th — not backing any candidate — knits together about 25 of these groups, including the various “Indivisible” organizations in DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Naperville and Wheaton energized with Trump’s election.
Said the Coalition’s Eric Hochstein, “We are building a strong, informed electorate.”