The Washington Times - September 15, 2010, 05:20PM

Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor on Wednesday became the first Democratic House member to join 171 House Republicans in signing a petition to repeal the recently passed health care reform act.

If the so-called Discharge Petition No. 11 gets 218 signatures, Republican House leaders could force a full vote to repeal the entire law.

Mr. Taylor is facing a re-election challenge in November from GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo in the state’s 4th District.

Though pollsters list the seat as “safe Democrat,” sources say Mr. Taylor’s decision to sign might indicate the race is much closer.

A nationwide campaign by the conservative Heritage Action for America group has singled out Mr. Taylor and other Democratic House members who voted against the health care legislation but have declined to sign the petition.

The group last month began running a series of paid issue advertisements in targeted states, including Mississippi, that questioned why House members who voted against the legislation would oppose repealing the law.