Abortion set to be a focal point in 2024 governor’s races

As Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear took a victory lap following his re-election last week, Democrats pointed to abortion as a major reason why he was able to beat state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, in a deep-red state.

Leading up to Election Day, abortion wasn’t the top issue in the race. The issues of health care and the economy played big roles in Beshear’s re-election — as did the power of incumbency.

Still, Beshear’s campaign ran a striking TV ad in the weeks leading up to the election, featuring a young woman talking directly to the camera, detailing her experience of sexual assault at a young age. And the deployment of that ad in one of the most Republican-friendly states in the nation speaks to how big an issue abortion continues to be across the map.

“This is to you, Daniel Cameron,” the woman says in the ad.

She adds, “To tell a 12-year-old girl, she must have the baby of her stepfather who raped her is unthinkable.”

The ad came after weeks of Democrats attacking Cameron for his defense of the state’s abortion ban, which went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Our law has gone into effect now, and I think this a day and a cause for celebration,” Cameron said after the law, which bans abortion after six weeks and does not include exceptions for rape and incest, went into effect in 2022.

Later in the campaign, he moderated his position, saying he would sign legislation allowing for exceptions to the law in cases of rape and incest.

Beshear’s victory came the same week that Republican Governors Association executive director Sara Craig Gongol told National Journa l, “In a lot of states, [abortion] is becoming a settled issue. It wasn’t when Roe first was overturned, but it’s starting to become a settled issue because a lot of states have already passed legislation.”

Now, Republicans and Democrats are going head to head again in New Hampshire and North Carolina next year, running for a pair of open governorships.

While Democrats plan to attack Republican gubernatorial candidates on the campaign trail next year for their positions on abortion, Republicans acknowledge that they can’t ignore the issue, Craig Gongol told NBC News.

“We can’t ignore this issue because it’s one that matters to voters, right alongside the economy, affordability, education, crime and a host of other issues,” she said.

The RGA will encourage GOP candidates to engage on this issue, she added, which includes hitting Democrats for their positions, too.

“Each governor and legislature is dealing with this issue differently,” she said. “Candidates need to be clear about what they are for, what they aren’t for, and what their Democrat opponent is for.” 

In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is term-limited and can’t run for re-election next year.

Earlier this year, the state’s Republican supermajority in the state legislature passed a ban on abortion after 12 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Multiple Republicans are campaigning for the GOP nomination in the race and the chance to succeed Cooper. Democrats are already highlighting their positions on abortion that go beyond the current law.

For example, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican running for governor, has walked back comments he made earlier this year where he said, “If I had all the power right now, say I was the governor and had a willing legislature, we could pass a bill right now that says you can’t get an abortion in North Carolina for any reason.”

In New Hampshire, the second state with an expected competitive race for governor next year, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has announced that he is not seeking re-election.

The Granite State currently restricts the procedure after 24 weeks of gestation.

Still, Democrats point to former GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s record on abortion in the Senate, where she pushed for a federal abortion ban at 20 weeks in 2014, years before Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Ayotte and state Senate President Chuck Morse, also a Republican, are running for governor in New Hampshire.

Read More

By admin

Leave a Reply