COLONA -- The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, speaking at a fundraiser here on Friday, promised to fully support Bobby Schilling's election campaign.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., spoke before 120 people at Lavender Crest Winery at the fundraiser for the former Republican congressman, who is running to reclaim the 17th Congressional District seat he lost to Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, in 2012.
Rep. Walden said that the Democratic-leaning 17th District will be more likely to favor a Republican in this year's mid-term election, which won't have President Obama at the top of the ticket.
"We are very engaged in this race," Rep. Walden said. "This is also politically a race that we can win because it's a district that, in the off-years, has proven that it will vote for Republicans up and down the ticket."
The Affordable Care Act will be a major theme of the campaign, Rep. Walden said.
Mr. Schilling is an opponent of the sweeping health-care law, which he believes has led to big insurance premium increases and too many new regulations.
Rep. Bustos generally supports the reforms ushered in by the legislation.
The law was designed to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.
It also introduced new regulations such as the provision that stops insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, a reform Mr. Schilling supports.
On Thursday, the White House announced that more than six million Americans had signed up for private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, after a recent surge in enrollment.
However, a spokesman for Rep. Bustos on Friday declined to say if she thought the law was a success at this point.
"Cheri believes every American deserves access to quality affordable health care and will continue to work to find common-sense solutions to problems identified as implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves forward," the spokesman said in an emailed statement.