New York Dems plan $20 million abortion, equal rights push
New York Democrats plan to spend at least $20 million to push a sweeping ballot measure in the 2024 elections to codify abortion protections, racial and LGTBQ+ equality, disability rights and more.
Why it matters: The party is investing heavily in a culture-focused strategy to energize their base in elections up and down the ballot.
- Democrats' unexpectedly strong showing in last year's midterms has widely been credited to a renewed focus on abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Driving the news: New Yorkers for Equal Rights, the group spearheading the initiative, aims to raise $20 million to spend on TV and digital ads, direct mail programs, grassroots organizing and voter education, according to a fact sheet viewed by Axios.
- The organization is partnering with a network of unions and left-leaning groups, including Planned Parenthood's issue advocacy arm, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the state's NAACP chapter.
- A number of prominent New York Democrats are also involved, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The details: The state constitutional amendment, placed on the 2024 ballot by the state legislature in January, would ban discrimination on the basis of "ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex.”
- It would also institute protections for "sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy."
- The amendment would effectively block state lawmakers from passing new laws restricting abortion.
The state of play: Democrats have identified New York as the key stepping stone in their path back to the House majority.
- Republicans enjoyed a mini-red wave in the state last year, winning five seats that President Biden won in 2020.
- Jeffries-aligned House Majority PAC plans to spend at least $45 million in the state, some of which is going to a New York-based "war room."
The backdrop: Recent similar ballot initiatives in the state, albeit with a much smaller scope, have met with considerable electoral success.
- Last year, even as Gov. Kathy Hochul won reelection by just 6 points and Republicans netted four U.S. House seats, voters approved a measure to establish an office of racial equality by a 40-point margin.