Republicans are still running against Hillary Clinton

Old political habits die hard.

Republicans running in midterm elections have picked a familiar target to try to fire up voters: Hillary Clinton.

The former U.S. secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee has vowed she’s “not going to run again,” but that’s not stopping several candidates from portraying her as their de facto opponent in the fall.

According to data compiled by USA Today, Clinton has been mentioned more than 5,000 times in television ads in the Ohio gubernatorial race in the past four months.

In West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, Clinton has been featured in TV spots that aired 3,751 times, while in Indiana’s Senate contest, she’s appeared 2,222 times, USA Today reports.

The only Democratic politician to appear in more television ads is former President Barack Obama, who has turned up in 18,971 spots paid for by Republicans and 3,976 paid for by Democrats. Clinton has been portrayed negatively in 12,864 ads nationally — a stunning figure for a politician who lost and doesn’t plan to run again.

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

Clinton herself has joked about the fact that she still garners so much attention on Fox News, quipping in early April that “Fox News is always trying to impeach me, so someone needs to tell them that it doesn’t apply to a private citizen.”

Of course, while Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity regularly run segments bashing Clinton, President Trump has also offered his Twitter followers a steady diet of anti-Clinton messages, keeping that feud alive in the minds of his supporters.

Indeed, rarely a week goes by that Trump doesn’t find a way to insert a reference to Clinton into his Twitter feed.

Perhaps one reason Clinton remains a rallying cry for Republicans is the fact that her approval ratings have slipped below Trump’s.

In December, a poll released by Gallup found that just 36 percent of Americans held a favorable view of the former senator and secretary of state, compared with 61 percent who held an unfavorable opinion.

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(Cover photo credit: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)[/caption]