Violation of a Supreme Court majority draft opinion invalidating deer reshuffled the Democratic hand in a Senate defense dominated for weeks by inflation and border security. Abortion rights are now a flashpoint for the four Democratic senators running the cycle’s hottest races: Cortez Masto, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, Georgia’s Raphael Warnock and Arizona’s Mark Kelly.
This is an opportunity for some of the four to take off with the back foot as they hammer their GOP opponents for opposing Roe vs. Wade. But it’s also a challenge for the entire Democratic Party: can it maintain its message for the next six months in the face of rising prices, increased border crossings and a volatile economy?
Democrats have struggled to sell a 2016 campaign built around the GOP’s blocking of their Supreme Court president’s pick, though they say this time around the consequences of a conservative bench are no longer theoretical. Republicans are downplaying the ramifications. Laxalt, the former Nevada attorney general, said that in closing deer would constitute a “historic victory”, the question is “established law” in the state.
About 2,500 miles from Silver State in Cortez Masto, Hassan warns of an even bleaker future after the court’s final ruling, expected next month. New Hampshire lacks the support that Nevada has, which means the state or Congress could quickly restrict abortion access if the Supreme Court overturns it. deer.
“If my opponents win this seat, they will support the kind of national abortion ban we are talking about now,” warns Hassan. “There are no protections in New Hampshire right now.”
Notably, one of Hassan’s potential opponents is State Senate Speaker Chuck Morse, who helped pass a 24-week abortion ban last year. Like Laxalt, Morse played down the implications of the cancellation deer because “we established New Hampshire law that allows abortions in the first six months while prohibiting late and partial abortions in the last 12 weeks of pregnancy.”
“Maggie Hassan is the only one out of touch when she defends late and partial abortions,” he said in a statement for this story.
Both Hassan and Cortez Masto have said their races will not be decided by abortion alone, but that any increase in turnout and enthusiasm in a midterm election will be vital to their political survival. Each won their seats by narrow margins in 2016, with Hassan winning around 1,000 votes and Cortez Masto winning by around 2 percentage points.
Nevada and New Hampshire are two of the states where abortion rights survey better in the countryside. The issue is a little more complex elsewhere, such as in historically red Georgia, where Warnock positions himself as a staunch advocate of abortion rights. He even suggested that the Senate consider removing the 60-vote threshold after next week’s vote on codification. deer failed.
“Our responsibility as lawmakers is to do everything we can to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act,” Warnock said in an interview. “No procedure or rule of the Senate is more important than people’s constitutional rights.”
Neither party has been able to muster 60 votes to pass abortion restrictions or abortion protections in recent years. Kelly said shoot down deer amounts to a “step backwards” for the United States, but also admitted the party has a “mathematical problem” in preserving access to abortion nationwide. He said it was too early to tell whether abortion or another issue might dominate his campaign.
Nonetheless, Republicans are beginning to push back against dire warnings from Democrats about how the GOP would pursue federal abortion restrictions if they regain control of Washington in the future. The National Republican Senate Committee vote cast Thursday intended to stifle the notion that voters are siding with Democrats on abortion rights.
In an interview, NRSC Chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said “the country is not where the Democrats are” and predicted that abortion would not dominate the political landscape: “The inflation is going to be the biggest problem, the border and the crime.”
Given the political environment and Senate seats up for grabs this year, Democrats are primarily focused on re-electing their incumbents — a decision that would give Democrats a majority for another two years. The reversal of deer would give them another argument to that end: that the loss of Kelly, Warnock, Cortez Masto, or Hassan would mean a greater chance of Republicans enacting new abortion restrictions in the future. It’s possible the Republicans could secure a filibuster-proof majority if the Democrats suffer heavy losses this year and in 2024.
With the Senate equally divided, re-electing all four incumbents is the easiest way for Democrats to retain a majority. Only two current Republican seats seem really in play for Democrats at the moment — those of incumbent Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and incumbent Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.
One of Johnson’s Democratic opponents, state treasurer Sarah Godlewski, filmed a commercial in the Supreme Court arguing that Johnson is getting “exactly what he wants” by overturning Roe vs. Wade. Johnson countered in an interview that “the political ramifications of this thing are overblown.”
“In Wisconsin, it’s like 50/50. It was never a problem for me in Wisconsin,” Johnson said. “It was not even discussed in the debates, I ran twice. This will probably be the first time this has happened. »
If the Democrats have their way, the issue will come up repeatedly over the next six months. And in places like New Hampshire and Nevada, Democrats don’t think it’s a 50/50 problem.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) said “New Hampshire is one of the most pro-choice states in the country” and predicted that abortion rights would now be a “major issue” in the Hassan’s re-election campaign. Hassan has already conducted more than half a dozen interviews on the subject and said in a fundraising email on Wednesday: “The stakes have never been higher: the Supreme Court is about to ‘to cancel Roe vs. Wade.”
And Cortez Masto, who chaired the Democrats’ campaign arm during the 2020 cycle that won them a majority, said abortion rights would resonate far beyond a few Senate battlegrounds.
“I wouldn’t underestimate this issue for the women and men who support [abortion rights] across the country, to be galvanized, to reveal themselves. Whether they voted in the past or not,” Cortez Masto said. “This is an issue that for me goes beyond state lines.”