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Expand chart
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation, The Cook Political Report; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats running for governor in states that haven't expanded Medicaid are making the expansion a central part of their campaigns.

Why it matters: Democrats up and down the ballot are focused on health care. But while congressional races are largely debates about the Trump administration's Affordable Care Act agenda or "Medicare for All," Medicaid expansion is an issue that gubernatorial candidates would actually have a lot of power to influence.

What we're watching: Democrats in competitive races in non-expansion states — including Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Wisconsin — are making it a point of contrast with their Republican opponents.

  • Democrat Tony Evers, who is challenging Republican Scott Walker in Wisconsin, addressed the issue in his first TV ad of the general election.
  • In Georgia, Stacey Abrams brings up her support for Medicaid expansion often, and includes it in advertising.
  • Even in states that have adopted the expansion, Democrats are touting their support and arguing that Republican opponents would scale back the program. (Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer has an ad making that point.)

The other side: Medicaid expansion is typically pretty popular, and Republicans have been struggling with how to handle the issue, the Washington Post reported in July.

  • Brian Kemp, who's running against Abrams in Georgia, has explicitly shot down the idea of expansion: “Medicaid costs too much and fails to deliver for hardworking Georgians,” a spokesman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • But most are quiet about the issue, preferring instead to launch their own offensives about Democrats' increasing embrace of "Medicare for All."
  • Republicans are running ads in Maryland emphasizing how much Democrat Ben Jealous's single-payer health care plan would cost taxpayers.

Although governors have less power to attempt single-payer than to expand Medicaid, some Democratic gubernatorial candidates have still weighed in: Democrat Andrew Gillum's first TV ad after winning his party's nomination in Florida highlighted his support for "Medicare for All."

Editor's note: This post was corrected to show Tony Evers is challenging Scott Walker in Wisconsin (not Michigan) and to fix some typos in names..

Go deeper

52 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.