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House speaker target of new ads

Friday - 3/28/2014, 4:50pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell is the target audience of new advertising by outside groups on both sides of the ongoing Medicaid expansion debate.

A spokeswoman for Campaign for Liberty is buying Internet ads, sending emails and doing robocalls in an effort to make sure that the Republican speaker maintains his opposition to expanding Medicaid eligibility. The nonprofit group is associated with ex-president candidate Ron Paul.

Earlier this month, the liberal advocacy group announced a five-figure ad buy for a parody television ad mocking Howell for not supporting Medicaid expansion.

The 70-year-old attorney from Fredericksburg has been resolutely opposed to expanding Medicaid, placing him at odds with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Democratically controlled Senate.

The impasse has threatened passage of a $96 billion two-year state budget.

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