Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

A couple weeks ago, a Republican triumphed over a Democrat in a special House election in Florida. Because much of the conversation about the race centered on Obamacare and its possible role in the outcome, the Democratic defeat was quickly extrapolated by some as a full damnation for the party's Obamacare message and its prospects for the midterm elections, where the Democrats are defending seats in deep-red states where the health care reform law is unpopular.

"Florida loss exposes Democrats' disarray on Obamacare" was among the headlines that followed. A somber examination of how Democrats approach Obamacare -- and whether they needed to separate themselves from it -- was supposed to be imminent. And, to be clear, there was undoubtedly some anxiety, especially within the Beltway.

But with a few weeks of distance, has anything really changed on the ground, particularly in the battleground states that will determine control of the Senate and where Obamacare is expected to be a critical issue? Any signs of panic from the Democratic candidates who should have been shaken by the vote in Florida?

Actually, both Democratic and Republican strategists in two of those key states told TPM the answer is no. In fact, polling suggests it is far from certain exactly how Obamacare will factor into the November elections.

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A Republican state legislator in Georgia has separated himself from his party's opposition to Obamacare's Medicaid expansion there, arguing that its position "is hurting our state."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the comments that Sen. Chuck Hufstetler made Tuesday on the Senate floor. They came during debate of a bill that would require the state legislature to approve expansion of Medicaid, rather than risk Republican Gov. Nathan Deal having a change of heart and expanding the program independent of the General Assembly.

Hufstetler criticized his colleagues for not holding hearings on Medicaid expansion and argued that the state was losing money in multiple ways by declining the federal funding that comes with Medicaid expansion.

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This Sunday is the the Affordable Care Act's fourth anniversary and, in what is something of a tradition, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wrote a scathing op-ed in USA Today on Friday to remind readers of all that the GOP believes is wrong with the law.

But it's also a reminder that there is one piece of the law that even the GOP really, really loves and would never roll back: letting kids stay on their parents' health plan until age 26.

"Believe it not, we can actually find some common ground. For example, I think we can agree on allowing young people to stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26," Priebus wrote. The Republicans could take the Senate -- even the presidency -- but that piece of Obamacare is here to stay.

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Obamacare, the United Nations' Agenda 21, the National Defense Authorization Act. All of these things appear to be linked, in the mind of North Carolina GOP Senate candidate Greg Brannon, a global conspiracy "to control you, to control me, to control life."

He also seems to believe his kidney disease might be the result of a flu vaccination.

BuzzFeed flagged Brannon's 2012 comments during a local radio interview. Brannon, a physician, is running as the tea party alternative to North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who has been the presumed frontrunner for the GOP nomination. A March 11 poll from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Brannon and Tillis tied at 14 percent to lead the Republican primary field.

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It seems Scott Brown, the once (and future?) U.S. senator, didn't have an answer when confronted with one of his fellow Republicans who has benefitted from Obamacare.

The Huffington Post flagged the Wednesday story from the Coos County Democrat. Brown had met with Herb Richardson, a New Hampshire Republican state legislator, as Brown is exploring a run for the state's U.S. Senate seat.

During the meeting at Richardson's home, Brown called Obamacare a "monstrosity." But Richardson and his wife quickly interjected, according to the Democrat, saying that the law had been "a financial lifesaver."

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Allegations of email hacking and impersonation. A defamation lawsuit. New Mexico Republicans don't have much hope for stealing a U.S. Senate seat away from Democratic incumbent Tom Udall this November, but they sure are having a lot of fun in the meantime.

Allen Weh, a 71-year-old former state party chair and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, should have coasted to the GOP nomination to challenge Udall. But then a virtual unknown, attorney David Clements, surprisingly scored nearly half the delegates at the state party's preprimary convention earlier this month. There was suddenly a real race, even if Weh still holds every structural advantage.

That might help explain the heightened sniping between the campaigns, which have traded harsh allegations in recent weeks. The first was from Clements, who said that Weh's campaign manager hacked his campaign email, which resulted in a formal investigation. Then came a counter lawsuit by Weh's campaign manger, alleging defamation by Clements.

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The Georgia state legislature passed a bill on Tuesday to prohibit abortion coverage from being included in insurance sold under Obamacare within its borders. It is now the 22nd state, almost all of them with statehouses controlled by Republicans, to pass such a bill since the federal law took effect in March 2010.

GOP lawmakers are taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act's approach to abortion coverage, a hotly contested issue when the bill was being debated, but pro-choice advocates have no illusions about what's happening: Conservatives are using the hated health care reform law to further the effort to restrict abortion coverage.

"This has been a big trend in state legislatures since as soon as the ink was dry on the ACA," Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice advocacy organization, told TPM.

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Minnesota Republicans who support gay marriage could be getting some electoral cover from a new conservative group if they face backlash from the right.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Tuesday that a former chair of the Minnesota Republican Party was co-founding the new group, Minnesotans for Conservative Leadership. It'll spend money in the state's legislative elections, and the paper noted that its co-founders have national connections that could yield significant donations.

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