The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched Twitter ads Wednesday targeting Rep. Peter Roskam, a suburban Republican who backs the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The ads feature a photo of an empty chair on a stage in front of a crowd, with the headline "Where's Roskam?" as part of a larger DCCC campaign targeting vulnerable House Republicans in 23 GOP-held districts over the proposed repeal.
"@PeterRoskam voted to repeal the ACA with no plan to replace it. Now he won't hold a town hall with constituents." the ad reads.
"These digital ads expose Roskam for being shameless enough to take people’s healthcare away and then run scared from his constituents when they demand answers," DCCC spokesperson Tyler Law said in a statement.
Earlier this month, hundreds gathered at an event in Palatine to protest Roskam, who was attending a monthly meeting of local Republicans. Initially open to the public, the meeting was later closed due to high demand. That incident came days after members of Roskam’s staff cancelled a meeting with constituents because a reporter was in attendance.
At the time, Roskam’s office said the congressman "is no stranger to the DCCC," noting that he’s focused on serving his district in Washington, "not the other way around."
Though voters continued to call for an in-person forum, Roskam made it clear that he prefers talking to large groups on the phone. He hosted a telephone town hall last week that drew 18,000 callers, many of whom wanted to talk about the proposed Obamacare repeal.
Echoing Roskam’s past statements, spokesperson David Pasch claimed that "large, unstructured events tend to devolve into shouting matches."
"Both sides compete with each other over who can scream the loudest, while the people who are interested in an actual productive dialogue are denied the opportunity to hear and be heard," Pasch said in an email.
"Peter has hosted 130 tele-town halls during his time in Congress (that’s more than once per month, on average) and he typically has at least 10,000 people participate live," he added. "We find this is a much more effective way to engage a larger number of people, including those who aren’t able to make it to an in-person event."
As far as the planned repeal of Obamacare, Pasch said the program has “failed the American people.”
“Premiums have gone up and many of us have lost access to our health plans and doctors,” he said. “Peter is committed to developing a patient centered alternative to increase access to care by bringing down costs."
During this week's congressional recess, Roskam is leading the House Democratic Partnership's bipartisan trip to Eastern Europe and Central Asia alongside New Hampshire Sen. David Price. The trip will address recent Russian aggression in the region.
Meanwhile, a group of constituents from Roskam's district has scheduled more than 60 small group meetings this week with members of the congressman's senior staff to discuss the GOP's repeal plan. The group originally intended to meet with Roskam, but decided to proceed with thieir visits after learning that he'd be out of the country.
Wednesday's attack ads against Roskam are part of the DCCC’s “March Into ’18” program, which launched earlier this month and focuses on hiring staffers and laying the groundwork for the 2018 midterms.
Despite gaining six seats in November, Democrats remain the minority party in the House. Republicans also hold a majority in the Senate, as well as the White House.
The GOP continues to move forward with their plan to repeal Obamacare, much to the chagrin of Democratic lawmakers and the millions of Americans who rely on the program for healthcare coverage.