HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) - Local Democratic officials warn Republicans who vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act risk losing their own seats in next year's election.
"There are people who are coming out of the woodwork -- talented people who never gave it a thought before who want to run for government at every level of government," said Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel, chair of the state House Democratic Caucus, in response to a question from KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Opposition to President Trump and his Republican congressional allies is creating a groundswell of new activists, just as the Tea Party did against President Obama in 2009.
"Folks have created this tremendous, grassroots level effort that we're going to be working towards," noted Sen. Jay Costa, the state Senate Democratic Leader.
"But there's no question as we go forward I think you're going to see an enhanced level of candidates running in some of these races."
MORE ON THE HEALTH BILL VOTE:
- Local, State Officials Warn Repeal Of Obamacare Will Hurt Local Residents
- Health Bill Vote Delayed In House In Setback To Trump, Ryan
- CBS News Coverage
Democrats think local Republican congressmen Tim Murphy, Keith Rothfus, and Mike Kelly -- each expected to support the "Trumpcare" health plan -- may be vulnerable to Democratic challengers next year.
"There's going to be a lot of congressional folks who will have to answer to their constituents when their health care gets taken away," said Allegheny County chief executive Rich Fitzgerald.
It will take a major effort -- and millions of dollars -- to defeat local Republican congressmen.
Keith Rothfus won with 62 percent of the votes last year, and Mike Kelly and Tim Murphy didn't even have a Democratic challenger in 2016.
Fitzgerald said it will be different in 2018.
"I get calls every week from people interested in running," he said.
State Republican Party chairman Val DiGiorgio insists Republican incumbents have nothing to worry about in supporting Trumpcare.
"If we pass this bill in its current form, it will lower health care costs, it will lower insurance premiums, and that will provide more access to people, not the other way around," noted DiGiorgio.
But Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto thinks a wave election is coming that will sweep the Congress.
"I'm optimistic," the mayor added.
Four Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania say they're opposed to the House GOP's health care legislation.
Allentown-area Rep. Charlie Dent said late Wednesday night that he opposes the bill. Dent says the bill will lead to the loss of health insurance and make insurance unaffordable for more people.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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