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US Rep. Clay Higgins, left, talks with La. Attorney General Jeff Landry during a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the LHC Group home office campus Friday, March 22, 2019, in Lafayette, La.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association is taking aim at Louisiana General Jeff Landry and several other Republican AGs for their role in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

The group bought Sunday newspaper ads in The Advocate and four other papers in other states as part of a campaign attacking the Republican AGs who are part of the lawsuit and who are running for reelection this year. The ads come as oral arguments are scheduled for this week in New Orleans in the case, which is expected to determine whether the landmark health law is unconstitutional. 

Dubbing Landry and the other AGs “health care hypocrites,” the organization spent about $23,000 on print and digital ads in Louisiana, including one in the Advocate’s Sunday paper. DAGA said it spent six figures on the campaign. 

“President Trump may call the GOP ‘the party of health care,’ but the truth is these Republican AGs are in court this week trying to sabotage health care coverage for millions of Americans,” Farah Melendez, DAGA Political Director, said in a statement.

While the campaign targets Landry because he is running for reelection, he has not drawn a formidable challenger for the Oct. 12 election.

Asked about which Democrats might run against Landry this cycle, the Louisiana Democratic Party criticized Landry for signing onto the ACA lawsuit, among other things. Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the state party, said in a statement to “stay tuned” to the race.

Landry has nearly $2.2 million in his campaign account for reelection, according to the latest financial reports, after he raised more than $400,000 in the first quarter.

While both Landry and Gov. John Bel Edwards filed legislation seeking to enshrine some of the ACA’s protections in state law during the recent legislative session, the GOP-dominated Legislature sided with Landry, passing his bill. The measure authorizes insurance commissioner Jim Donelon to study other states’ health plans, with the goal of replicating Maine’s high-risk pool in Louisiana should the ACA be overturned.

Brent Littlefield, Landry’s political adviser, pointed out the Democratic Governors Association touted Edwards’ signing of the bill recently, despite the fact it was largely panned by the governor during the session and was pushed by Landry and other Republicans. Now, DAGA is attacking the same official who pushed the legislation praised by the DGA, he said.

“It seems they just have a very difficult time handling the leadership that Jeff Landry is putting forward working with other Republican leaders from across the state,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield called the new law the country’s “first and only Republican solution to Obamacare,” and noted it received bipartisan support in the Legislature.


Email Sam Karlin at skarlin@theadvocate.com