Jun 30, 2022 - Politics

Nashville Democrat pounces on Roe reversal

Illustration of a pattern of blue checkmarks.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Nashville Democrats are seizing on last week's landmark Supreme Court ruling on abortion access and hoping it jolts the race for the District 5 U.S. House seat.

  • State Sen. Heidi Campbell, the favorite to win the Democratic primary, moved quickly to galvanize her base after the news broke.

Driving the news: Conventional wisdom indicated Republicans were in the driver's seat to flip the seat that has been represented by Democrats since the Civil War.

  • The beleaguered national mood around the economy, combined with the newly drawn district boundaries, gave Republicans the advantage.
  • U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, has held the seat since 2003 but announced his retirement on the heels of redistricting.

Why it matters: Multiple polls conducted in the wake of the ruling showed Democrats surging.

What she's saying: In a campaign fundraising email titled "Our worst fears," Campbell argued that overturning Roe was about controlling and limiting opportunities for women.

  • "If they win in November and seize control of Congress, Republicans have made clear that they will pass federal legislation stripping every American woman of her right to choose," Campbell wrote. "This decision is just the beginning — other issues like our right to contraceptives, and to marry interracially are also at risk."

Zoom out: Axios' Sophia Cai reports national Democrats are immediately trying to paint Republicans as extreme in the wake of the ruling.

The other side: The top Republican contenders for the District 5 seat — former House Speaker Beth Harwell, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and attorney Kurt Winstead — have applauded the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling.

By the numbers: Former President Trump won the newly drawn district by 11 points, according to an analysis provided to Axios by political consultant Dave Rosenberg, who also serves on the Metro Council.

  • But the 2018 race for U.S. Senate was evenly split between former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
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