A day after a Republican runoff set the field in the 9th Congressional District, Democrat Jennifer Roberts Wednesday sought to draw distinctions with her new rival.
Meanwhile, a new report shows she quietly raised more than $250,000 through June, most of it from Charlotte supporters.
Speaking outside a senior center, Roberts said theres a stark contrast between her and Republican Robert Pittenger, who beat Jim Pendergraph in Tuesdays GOP runoff. Libertarian Curtis Campbell also is running.
Roberts chose the senior center to underscore her support for what she called good, affordable health care.
It is disappointing that Pittenger wants to drastically reduce benefits for seniors, she said. Pittenger has the wrong priorities: doubling health care cost for North Carolina seniors while protecting tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy and protecting taxpayer giveaways for big oil companies.
Pittenger responded by saying her statement shows the distortion of Democrats.
Both base their claims on the spending plan proposed by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Pittenger likes it. Roberts doesnt.
Ryans plan would gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 by 2034. It would cap Medicare spending growth and turn Medicaid, the federal health program for the poor, over to the states in the form of a federal block grant for each state.
His budget would give future Medicare beneficiaries people now under 55 -- money to buy either a private health plan or a government-administered plan through a new Medicare exchange.
Pittenger said it was Democrats, not Republicans, who threatened Medicare.
The Democrats took $500 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, he said, and the Republicans restored that money in the House budget.
According to PolitiFact, the Affordable Care Act called Obamacare by critics doesnt take $500 billion out of the current Medicare budget but attempts to slow the programs growth. It would cut $500 billion in projected spending over a decade from reimbursements to providers, not by trimming benefits. Overall, Medicare spending would still rise.
Pittenger has said he would address entitlements in part by gradually raising the retirement age, but not for people currently over 55.
Ready to compete
A new report released this week showed Roberts has raised more than $253,000, almost all of it from individuals, much of it from women.
Her donors included Gov. Bev Perdue, former Observer publisher Rolfe Neill, former Charlotte Motor Speedway President H.A. Humpy Wheeler and textile executive Crandall Bowles.
She had $158,000 on hand at the end of June. That was more than the $90,000 Pittenger had in early July.
But Pittenger, a real estate investor, spent more than $2.1 million of his own money in the primary.
Hes not expected to be outspent in the fall.
We are ready to compete, Roberts said. I have been outspent before and still been successful.