Republicans claim Supreme Court ruling will boost downballot races as vulnerable Dems hold firm

"Today's ruling doesn't mean this responsible, constitutional law can't be improved," Montana Sen. Jon Tester said in a statement. "But it is an important step forward in the fight to fix a broken system and hold big insurance companies accountable to Montana families."

Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, former North Dakota state attorney general, singled out the controversial individual mandate as the major provision deserving more attention. "There are good things in the health care bill, like keeping insurance companies from dropping people for pre-existing conditions, closing the Medicare Donut Hole, and allowing parents to keep their children covered until they turn 26," Heitkamp said in a statement. "... Moving forward, I'll work with both parties to control costs, keep the good pieces intact and fix the bad pieces, like the individual mandate."

"I for one am confident I can work with Republicans to find common sense solutions that begin with establishing State based exchanges and supporting exciting initiatives by providers to lower costs and improve quality," former Nebraska Senator and current Senate candidate Bob Kerrey said in a statement.

Less than three hours after the ruling was issued, Republicans were already using the decision as attack fodder.

"There is a clear contrast in the Nebraska U.S. Senate race," Kerrey's opponent, state Sen. Deb Fischer, said in a statement. "I support the full repeal of ObamaCare. Bob Kerrey opposes repeal and has been a longtime advocate of a universal single-payer system that would eliminate private insurance companies."

"Today the Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare stands as a new tax on Americans," Chandler Smith, spokeswoman for Nevada Republican Senate candidate Dean Heller. "Now, Nevada families, businesses, seniors and medical providers must continue to deal with the consequences. Perhaps if seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley had been less focused on following President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, she would have had the courage to make the law work better for Nevadans when she had a chance."

"Joe Donnelly likes to pretend he's not a liberal, but the fact is that Joe Donnelly voted for ObamaCare, which the Supreme Court just recognized as a massive tax increase," Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said of the Indiana Senate candidate. "Joe Donnelly and Obama are two peas in a pod: they both believe that big government is the answer to every problem and they want the government mandating what you purchase in the private economy. Hoosiers will reject Donnelly and Obama this November."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee weighed in on many competitive races, including Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida's re-election race.

"The Supreme Court today has affirmed Nelson's decision to put President Obama's agenda ahead of Florida seniors and small businesses," the committee said in a press release. "In doing so, the Court has made clear what is at stake in November's election."

National polling taken prior to the ruling showed overall support for the president's law, but the individual mandate received the least amount of support. The court on Thursday voted to uphold the mandate as a tax.

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