Sep 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats hit GOP over abortion far from Texas

Illustration of a pencil filling in a ballot with the checkbox in the shape of the state of Texas.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are trying to attack Republican political candidates over abortion rights far from Texas — including libertarian states like New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: The strategy highlights the national resonance of the new Texas law banning abortions past six weeks. The Democratic Party sees an opening in next year's midterm elections to capitalize on voters’ opposition to it.

  • Both Nevada and "Live-Free-or-Die" New Hampshire also have female senators up for re-election in 2022.
  • The Democrats' ad campaigns have the potential to drive up turnout by women.

What we’re watching: Democrats are already releasing ads hitting Republicans for their record on choice in the hope of making an early impression on voters.

  • The New Hampshire Democratic Party has a digital ad, released Monday, that attempts to blame the state’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, for the New Hampshire Executive Council’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • In the ad, titled "Laughing," the first text to appear on the screen references the Texas law.

In Nevada, Democrats are hitting Adam Laxalt, a Republican Senate primary candidate, by tying him to Dean Heller, who's running for governor, through their abortion rights comments.

The backdrop: Both states have a history of supporting abortion rights measures that Democrats intend to highlight.

  • In Nevada in 1990, over 60% of voters approved a ballot measure that reaffirmed allowing abortion up to 24 weeks. The law can only be changed by a “direct vote by the people,” meaning the legislature cannot amend it.
  • 65% of voters in the state consider themselves "pro-choice," according to a poll conducted over the summer by OH Insights.

What they’re saying: “I think that protecting women’s reproductive rights is fundamental to the Granite State,” Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, told Axios.

  • He added, “We are either No. 1 or close to it in support of abortion, support of a woman’s choice, and that is part of our DNA that government should not be involved in that question.”
  • Andy Orellana, a spokesperson for Nevada Democratic Victory, the coordinated campaign for Democrats in 2022, said, "With Nevada Republicans calling for extreme abortion bans like the one in Texas, Laxalt’s anti-choice record has only become more alienating to voters."

Go deeper: "Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law"

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