Democrats are trying to keep an eye on voter access to abortion in the upcoming election after the party successfully used the issue to strengthen its base and unseat independent voters in the 2022 midterm elections.
After Roe v. In races up and down the ballot, Wade made gains on the issue and warned that elected Republican officials were working to implement a ban at the national and state levels.
And while the midterms may have come and gone, Democrats insist a lot of campaigning over the next two years will involve the issue on the campaign trail.
“Women’s Reproductive Rights [are] essential to the American people—American women and men,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said during a press briefing with the Democratic Senators’ Campaign Committee last week. “They stood up and said that in this election and we are here to protect that for them and we will continue to do that and I believe it will continue to be an issue until we legislate Roe for all Americans.” can codify.”
While many strategists and pundits expressed skepticism that abortion would be a driving issue for voters in the midterm elections, the issue proved key to the Democrats’ victory.
Twenty-seven percent of voters said abortion was the most important issue this year, surpassed only by inflation at 32 percent, according to an NBC News poll. CNN’s exit polls returned nearly identical results, with 31 percent citing inflation as their top issue and 27 percent saying the same about abortion.
“If you look at this 2022 election, it’s very clear that abortion and the economy were top of mind for voters and the Democrats won on the economy,” said Christina Polizzi, communications director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. “The right to abortion is an economic issue.”
There were signs that abortion was a strong issue leading up to the general election, such as the rejection of a restrictive abortion ballot measure in Kansas and the victory of current Rep. Pat Ryan (D) in a special election in New York, where he made the issue a centerpiece of his campaign made.
“Voters don’t take it lightly when their half-century-old rights are snatched away, and they don’t believe that these deeply personal decisions should be controlled by politicians,” said Colin Seeberger, senior communications adviser at the Center for American Progress.
“That’s the message that has been a successful message in every single state,” he added.
According to a memo released by the House Majority PAC, of the 211 television ads the Democratic Group ran in 2022, 103 were about economic issues, while 89 mentioned abortion.
Additionally, the group wrote in a memo that it conducted an abortion ad test project in August, which found its best-performing ad “was a contrast framing the races, since ‘a Democrat takes care of the economy while Republicans want to ban abortion’.”
“In 2022, Republicans refused to recognize abortion and reproductive freedom as a serious issue while pushing for a nationwide abortion ban,” CJ Warnke, communications director for the PAC majority in the House of Representatives, said in a statement to The Hill. “Voters answered with a resounding no, rejected Republican extremists and stood for personal freedom. House Majority PAC knew this was a powerful and winning message and will continue to highlight Republican extremism over abortion until access is protected in all 50 states.”
While Democrats hope to keep the issue in the spotlight at the 2024 federal races, the importance of access to abortion as a campaign issue will be revived in next month’s Georgia Senate runoff and next year’s General Assembly races in the purple Commonwealth of Virginia tested.
Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has expressed support for a 15-week national ban on abortion. He previously advocated a total ban on the procedure with no exceptions, but has since advocated abortion-restricting measures that include exceptions.
Still, Democrats hope to use the issue to target Walker during the campaign.
“It is more a testament to Herschel Walker’s extremism that he supports a blanket national abortion ban,” Seeberger said.
But Walker still has strong support from anti-abortion groups, including Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which has pledged to spend at least $1 million to support Warnock in the runoff.
“Walker’s support for compassionate limits on abortion aligns with the people of Georgia and the overwhelming majority of Americans, in stark contrast to ‘activist Pastor’ Warnock’s radical position of on-demand abortion until birth, paid for by taxpayers,” he said the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said in a statement earlier this month. “Our ground team will continue to visit constituents in their homes to expose Warnock’s extremism and urge them to vote Walker as their frontrunner in the US Senate.”
Meanwhile, the Virginia Democrats are already planning next year’s 2023 General Assembly elections with a new political action committee aimed at funding abortion-rights candidates. Roe Your Vote Virginia started a day after Election Day. The group plans to spend $1 million on Senate and House contests.
“Virginia is one of those rare places where we have an election every year, so it’s always a good guiding star to see what’s happening in 24,” said Gianni Snidle, a spokesman for Virginia’s Democratic Party.
And even though Virginia’s next election will be held in an adjunct year leading up to the 2024 presidential primary, Democrats say Republican efforts to pass abortion restrictions in Virginia will provide enough motivation to get voters to the polls.
“Our job is already done for us because these Republicans keep bringing these bills in,” Snidle said. “The only reason it’s stopping is because we have a one-seat majority in the Senate.”
Virginia Democrats are also working to keep the issue high in the state legislature. On Monday, the Virginia congressional delegation authored a letter to the Legislature’s Privileges and Elections Committee, urging state legislatures to incorporate abortion rights into the Virginia constitution.
“I received a letter from the Democratic delegation to the US Congress in Virginia to advance legislation to codify reproductive freedom at the state level.” tweeLionell Spruill State Senator (D). “I intend to make sure this happens and is voted out [Privileges and Elections] Chairman of Committee I.”
This dynamic will also play out in state legislatures across the country.
“I suspect many of these states will be considering their own abortion legislation, and I think this will be ripe for drawing attention to Republican extremism in pushing these radical bans,” Seeberger said. “At the same time, this will be a stepping stone and catalyst for activists to stay engaged.”