In New Hampshire, Hodes Squares Off With Chamber Over Health Care Reform

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH), who’s trying to replace the retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R) in the Senate next year, is squaring off against the business groups pushing back on Democratic efforts to finish up health care reform in the next few weeks.

Through the Chamber of Commerce, business groups are attacking the Democratic reform package in a nationwide ad campaign the Chamber says will costs between $4-$10 million dollars. In addition to the national spots, the Chamber is also targeting its ads at key members of Congress in key states where business leaders think they can influence Democratic lawmakers about to face voters at the ballot box.

Hodes is one of those members, and he’s fighting back. “They can use all the fear tactics, false information and corporate money they want,” he told TPM in a statement this morning. “I won’t stop fighting for the middle-class families and small businesses in this state that need real reform now.”The Chamber Of Commerce did not respond to a request for comment this morning, nor did they make the ad available to TPM.

On a conference call with reporters yesterday, Hodes said the the ad campaign will not be successful if it aims turning him against reform, which he said he still supports despite being locked in a tough race for Senate.

The TPM Poll Average for the New Hampshire Senate Race shows GOP candidate Kelley Ayotte ahead of Hodes by a margin of 46.1% to 37.1%.

Republicans say that Hodes’ continued support for the Democratic health care reform package is partly responsible for his position in the polls. But Hodes says that he’s on the right side of the issue, and won’t change his mind no matter how much money supporters of the GOP position like the Chamber spend.

“I will not be bullied into changing my position,” Hodes told reporters on the call, according to the New Hampshire Union-Leader.

Hodes spokesperson Mark Bergman confirmed the stance to TPM. “Paul supports comprehensive health care reform and isn’t going to be bullied or pushed around by the health insurance industry and their allies,” Bergman told me this morning.