Democrats campaign on abortion ruling while GOP sticks to inflation
National Republican campaign arms are looking to stay focused on inflation, crime and immigration after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, while Democrats seized on the loss of federal abortion protections as a game-changer that could turn out their voters in November.
Why it matters: Friday's decision has the potential — but no guarantee — to upend some key midterm contests and give Democrats a shot in the arm ahead of elections otherwise poised to hand Republicans majorities in Congress.
What we're watching: The Democratic National Committee and the party's House and Senate campaign arms unveiled a new activism portal on Friday, defendchoice.org, and a nationwide organizing effort "to elect and re-elect Democratic candidates who will defend women's rights to make their own health care decisions."
- The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to state legislatures where future abortion policy battles will be waged, leaped into fundraising mode with pleas "to ensure we have the resources to elect pro-choice state Democrats across the nation."
- House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC, the party's top congressional super PACs, released a joint statement pledging to "elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who will fight like hell to ensure that our constitutional rights are enshrined into law."
- SMP's president J.B. Poersch told Axios the group is already sketching out plans for radio, TV, and digital ads pegged to the Roe decision.
One Democratic operative familiar with the party's strategy in key 2022 House contests told Axios the abortion issue could be potent in House as well as Senate races.
- "This is a mobilizing issue for suburban women in districts across the country," said the operative. "I would expect this to play a major role in those campaigns."
The other side: "This ruling does nothing to change the fact that voters’ top concerns are rising prices, soaring crime, and the disaster at the southern border,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Samantha Bullock told Axios in a statement.
- Republicans don't necessarily see abortion as a losing issue, one plugged-in GOP operative told Axios, but it's generally thought of as net-neutral strategically.
- "I think the bottom line is this is kind of a draw issue as far as the midterms go," the person said, reasoning that any mobilization efforts pegged to the issue tend to fire up both Republicans and Democrats, making its net benefit marginal.
- In a polling memo authored in the wake of a leaked Roe draft last month, the RNC wrote: "Even with increased media attention, abortion is not the winning issue Democrats think it is, and the economy, crime, and the border remain the top issues for voters."
Between the lines: Republicans may try to shift the abortion conversation to whether Democrats favor any state-level limits, including on late-term abortions.
- "Late-term abortion is incredibly unpopular with voters," the operative said. "If we go on offense, that's where you'll see us go."
- "Today's Supreme Court ruling returns the issue of abortion to the states and allows voters to decide whether they agree with Democrats' extreme support for taxpayer-funded late-term abortion," the NRCC's Bullock said.
But, but, but: Abortion politics drives intense donor response in both parties, regardless of how it may translate to votes. Candidates and committees of both parties immediately blasted out dollar appeals pegged to the decision.
- Fundraising targets ran the gamut, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Maine Democratic Party to former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's political action committee.