“As the first state to vote on abortion rights after the fall of Roe v. Wade, Kansas is a model for the path to restoring reproductive rights across the country through direct democracy,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “We know that Kansas will not be our last fight or our last victory.”
Democratic and Republican operatives acknowledged Wednesday that the result in Kansas, while limited to one state, could change how each party approaches the midterm elections. Democrats, buoyed by the polls and the Kansas outcome, will likely try to make abortion a top issue in key races, hoping to tie their Republican opponents to support for stricter abortion laws.
Republicans, likewise, will remain cautious on the issue, largely ignoring their party’s desire to toughen abortion laws across the country and instead hoping to keep the focus on the economy.
“I think our Republican candidates will continue to focus on the issues that matter most to voters, and every poll keeps saying costs and the economy are going up,” said a Republican operative who works on House races.
A Republican operative working on Senate races added: “The midterms are not going to happen in a vacuum, and there are other issues voters are considering when they cast their vote in the fall. No vote on an issue.”
“We already knew that most Americans support abortion rights, but last night’s results in Kansas showed us that it’s also a motivating factor for voters,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, a Democratic operative and CEO of the progressive consultancy Bully Pulpit Interactive. “We’re likely to see more Democratic candidates learn from Kansas and build on the threat and urgency to ban abortion nationwide and start communicating that directly to voters.”
Republicans seek balance on abortion issue
Since the Supreme Court decision in June, many Republicans have been trying to walk a fine line on abortion.
And Mastriano is not alone, as Republicans across the country try to keep the focus on soaring inflation and voters’ sense of economic malaise rather than more controversial issues like abortion.
The Republican National Senatorial Committee issued a memo following the leak in May of a draft opinion predicting the Supreme Court’s final decision, urging candidates to “be compassionate, consensus-building on abortion” and to be willing to ” listen” to the people. who disagree with them on the subject.
A Republican operative working on Senate campaigns said that while the Kansas result “reflects that there is much more nuance to abortion policy than most people realize,” the NRSC has been advising candidates to “Decide how much you want to talk.” about the issue,” but to know that “voters want to talk about the issues that affect their day-to-day lives,” like the economy.
Some Republicans also believe that focusing on abortion would allow Republicans to offend Democrats who oppose limits on the procedure.
“You need to push Democrats without limits,” said Matt Gorman, a Republican strategist who was a top spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee in 2018, pointing to his party’s attempts to attack Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate candidate. John Fetterman, for saying “no” when asked if there were “limits on abortion that you would consider appropriate.”
Polls show Roe’s decision is generally unpopular
But Tuesday’s vote was the first real-world test of that support in an era without Roe’s protections, and the result points not only to the accuracy of recent polling but also to how voters, even in one state deep red like Kansas — they’re hot on the issue, giving Democrats a chance.
“This is further evidence of what poll after poll has told us: Americans support abortion rights. They believe we should be able to make our own health care decisions, and they will vote accordingly, even in the face of misleading campaigns.” Christine said. Reynolds, a top official on EMILY’s List, which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights.
Abby Curran Horrell, executive director of the House Majority PAC, the main Democratic super PAC focused on House races, framed the issue as one of Americans losing a key right, echoing the message that worked for Democrats in 2018 in around the topic of medical care.
“The Republicans want to take this right away from Americans, and the Democrats want to guarantee this freedom and the freedom to control their own body,” he said. “This is taking away a fundamental right that has a huge impact on Americans across the country. And Americans don’t like it when their rights are taken away.”