Republicans know what they want this year’s legislative election to be about.
Public school curriculum … Wind turbines off the Jersey Shore … Pork in the $54 billion state budget.
What they definitely don’t want it to be about is abortion rights.
Democrats know that, and they know something else. When it comes to abortion, the majority is on their side.
Polls show that most people across the nation did not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. If you don’t believe the polls, there is real life to consider.
Since the court’s action in June of 2022, there have been six statewide referendums on abortion. The abortion rights side has won all six – even in “red” states like Kansas and Kentucky. That does not include Ohio, where just a few weeks ago, voters backed abortion rights in what was seen as a proxy vote. A referendum on the issue is set for November.
So it is hardly a shock that a new ad for Democrats in LD-16 centers on abortion rights and condemns GOP Senate candidate Mike Pappas for wanting “to ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest.”
The district covers mostly parts of Hunterdon and Somerset counties, but also Princeton in Mercer and South Brunswick in Middlesex.
Democrats outnumber Republicans here by about 18,000 on the registration rolls, but the GOP sees this district as a possible pick-up.
The Democratic candidates are incumbent Sen. Andrew Zwicker, incumbent Assemblyman Roy Freiman and newcomer Mitchelle Drulis, who is featured in the ad.
The Republicans are the aforementioned Pappas and Assembly hopefuls Grace Zhang and Ross Traphagen.
The ad begins with Drulis, who was an aide to former CD-7 Congressman Tom Malinowski, expressing fear about the future, her daughter at her side. Affordability, or lack thereof, is a concern, but then we get to the punchline.
Drulis said she worries about her daughter’s “basic rights and freedoms.”
The Republican candidates are then pictured (in black and white) and Drulis says that she and her fellow Dems, unlike the GOP, will protect a women’s right to choose.
By any measure, this is an uncomfortable election subject for the GOP.
If Republicans try to walk away – even a little bit – from a strong pto-life position, they risk upsetting the party’s base.
But the problem is with arithmetic. The strong pro-life position is a minority view. Democrats, many independents and even some Republicans disagree with it.
No wonder that Republicans would rather talk about dead whales, “pornographic” literature in the school library, and “Christmas Tree” items in the budget.
There is more than two months to go, but even if it was two days before the election, it would be safe to say turnout figures to be very, very low.
Many people just don’t care about the state Legislature. Sad, but true.
That makes getting as much turnout as you can in a ho-hum election critical.
Republicans think their aforementioned issues will bring conservatives to the polls.
They may be right about that.
But judging from public sentiment across the nation, protecting abortion rights is going to bring Dems and other like minded souls to the polls as well.
As the campaign unwinds, expect to see more Democratic ads about abortion rights.
The issue is not going away.