If it happens in Kansas, it reverberates in New Jersey.
Well, not normally, but maybe today it does.
It sure didn’t take much time for Democrats in Washington and in the Garden State to crow about voters in Kansas strongly supporting abortion rights on Tuesday.
“Kansas is proof. Americans do not support stripping freedom from women. Let’s keep up the fight.” That was the response from Mikie Sherrill in CD-11.
Some miles to the south in CD-3, Andy Kim observed that, “People are understanding what is at stake. We need to build on this momentum and protect these rights across the nation. Women’s rights are human rights. Let’s get it done.”
Kim and Sherrill are two House members seeking reelection in competitive districts.
This is hyperbole to a certain extent, but then again, not 100 percent so.
As polarizing an issue as abortion rights are, one can not forget the playing field. – Kansas, a “red” state Donald Trump won in 2020 with about 56 percent of the vote. Restricting, or outright banning, abortion rights, long has been a GOP goal.
There weren’t many polls on the abortion question going into Tuesday’s vote, but one that I saw had the abortion rights side slightly behind. So, either that poll was simply wrong or there was a late onslaught of pro-choice voters. Probably a combination of both.
Whatever the reason, about 60 percent of voters backing abortion rights in a conservative state cannot be ignored even with the caveat that every election is different.
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, Democrats have been determined to make abortion rights, a longstanding party principle, a key issue in the midterms.
Go ahead, some Republicans said. See how far you get when gas is five bucks a gallon and mothers are searching for baby formula. That was a few weeks ago. There are still shortages of formula, but gas prices are dropping every day.
Clearly, the vote in Kansas validates the Democrats’ argument that women’s rights may indeed be more important – at least to some voters – than temporary high prices.
However, the game will be different in November. The Kansas vote, which was actually a referendum on the state constitution, was singularly focused on one issue – abortion. The midterm election will cover many issues and will also center on personalities – namely the people actually running.
Nonetheless, Democrats today are encouraged.
As for Republican House candidates in such contested districts as 3, 5, 7 and 11, one perusing their campaign Facebook pages today found no mention of the Kansas vote. Some spoke of attending National Night Out events last evening.
Paul DeGroot, who is challenging Sherrill, brought up the failure of Democrats to bring back the full federal tax deduction for state and local taxes or SALT. That is a legitimate issue and one the Dems have talked about for four years.
All this misses the point. according to the DCCC, the Democrats congressional campaign committee.
Spokesman James Singer said the Kansas vote is a “warning to every single GOP congressional candidate running in New Jersey, who have all opposed protecting abortion rights.”