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Tea Party: GOP lawmakers who vote for Medicaid bill should expect primary battles

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Tea Party members attend a pre-election rally in Jackson, Michigan

Tea Party activists are threatening to put up primary challengers against Republican lawmakers who vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan.

The bill would add hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to the Medicaid rolls under the federal healthcare law.

The legislation cleared the state House last week. The state Senate is likely to take up the legislation this week.

Tea Party groups claim it would be the biggest expansion of state government in more than four decades.  They say Republican votes in favor of the bill warrant a primary challenge next year.

“We will be taking note of how people vote and we will be taking the next year and a half, especially next summer and next fall, in educating citizens across Michigan on how their legislator voted,” said Scott Hagerstrom, a member Americans for Prosperity Michigan, a Tea Party group.

However, State Senate GOP spokesperson Amber McCann says members of the caucus would be able to defend their conservative credentials in a primary challenge.

Tea Party activists are also threatening to sit out next year’s governor’s race if Governor Rick Snyder doesn’t withdraw his support for Medicaid expansion.

Joan Fabiano is with Grassroots in Michigan, a Tea Party organization. He said: “The GOP is doing this to their own demise, because, you know, they’re not giving people a choice.”

Republicans were split on the bill when it passed the state House last week.

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