Have a look at the ad below. We gave it away in the headline, but if you weren't familiar with Evan Jenkins, what political party would you think he's a member of?
Mom: "When Grayson was diagnosed with autism, it truly felt like a bomb went off. We found out that the insurance companies refused this treatment that we knew could help him. It was such a lonely, devastating feeling. I decided to contact our state senator, Evan Jenkins."That messaging sounds exactly like what you might hear from a Democrat, but Jenkins is, in fact, a Republican. Funny enough, he's a recent party-switcher, recruited by the GOP to run against Rep. Nick Rahall, but perhaps Jenkins hasn't entirely forgotten his Democratic past.
Jenkins: "She told me their story, and you know, no child should be denied health care just because of a disability."
Mom: "He didn't care to go up against the big insurance companies, to make sure Grayson got what he needed. He cared so much about my son, it meant the world to me."
And he definitely hasn't forgotten that a spate of polls have shown him getting mashed by Rahall, after months of ads hammering for—get this—supporting the repeal of Obamacare. Okay, not in so many words, but one provision of the ACA made it easier for coal miners to obtain black lung benefits, which of course would get shredded if the law were somehow overturned.
So Jenkins, remarkably enough, is now trying to demonstrate that he, too, cares about expanding health coverage for the less fortunate. What's even more amazing is that he's running in West Virginia, in a district that gave Barack Obama just 33 percent of the vote. At one point, in fact, Rahall looked like a dead man walking, thanks in large part to the president's deep unpopularity here, but now it's Jenkins who's on the defensive.
And if he's turning to a message that could have been written by a Democratic media consultant despite campaigning for a dark red seat, imagine what Republicans elsewhere are thinking these days.