Abortion at center of NH election campaign

Posted: 07/01/2022 16:21:24

Modified: 01/07/2022 16:18:50

Senator Maggie Hassan vows she will “fight and never back down” to protect legalized abortion.

The former governor and first-term U.S. senator has engaged in her latest campaign ad, which began airing in New Hampshire this week following the Court’s monumental conservative majority decision. supreme to topple the historic half-century-old Roe. vs. Wade decision.

“This decision catapults us backwards, and there are politicians like Mitch McConnell, who have made it clear that their goal is to ban abortion nationwide,” Hassan charged in his announcement. “We will not be intimidated. I will fight and I will never back down.

Hassan faces a potentially tough re-election this year and is a top GOP midterm target in November. And she is among a growing number of Democratic incumbents, candidates, party committees and allied outside groups to run ads in the week since the high court’s blockbuster abortion ruling.

The Democratic National Committee, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Democratic Party, launched digital ads in Granite State that accuse “Republicans of not stopping to unseat Roe.” They want to go further and ban abortion. Believe them.

Democrats aim to shine a light on the problem by November, when the party will defend their razor-thin House and Senate majorities as they face historic headwinds in an extremely difficult political climate fueled by soaring protests. gasoline prices, soaring inflation and President Biden’s underwater approval ratings. .

Party strategists see a silver lining in the seismic reversal of Roe v. Wade and the Return of the Issue of Legalized Abortion to State Legislatures. It may offer Democrats a chance to shift the campaign conversation, energize the left-wing base and win back key suburban voters who helped Democrats win back the House in 2018 but appeared to cross lines. of the party in select 2020 congressional contests and again in GOP victories in the Virginia and New Jersey elections last November.

Democrats point to national public opinion polls conducted in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that indicate a solid majority of Americans disagree with the opinion and that it could motivate more Democrats than Republicans to vote midterm. The most recent poll in Granite State — conducted a month ago by the University of New Hampshire — indicated that 6 in 10 people opposed overturning Roe v. Wade.

Democrats are now aiming to turn anger over the decision into support at the polls, even as Republicans aim to keep the focus on rising prices and crime less than five months before the midterm elections.

Among those furious are New Hampshire progressives, some of whom have long viewed Hassan with suspicion.

Arnie Arnesen of Concord is one of them. The former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, progressive activist and radio talk show host, told the Monitor that “this election is not about Maggie. It’s not actually an abortion. It’s about whether we’re a country that I no longer recognize. With the assault on virtually every right, I realize that the other side is offering me nothing except that they are going to deprive me of everything I believe in.

“So I’m going to do anything. And I’m going to be an activist… And here’s the good news – Maggie is going to follow us,” Arnesen said when asked if the Supreme Court’s ruling would garner support from ‘Hassan among the left of the Democratic Party “Right now, she is my vehicle for my outrage.”

In New Hampshire, Democrats had a head start in the now national abortion press. The state party and politicians have repeatedly shed light on the issue for a year – since the passage last summer of a state budget that Republicans have touted as the most conservative in decades – which included a ban on abortions after 24 weeks gestation and mandatory ultrasounds for all women. before termination of pregnancy.

But David Carney, a longtime Republican consultant based in New Hampshire, argued that “saying something works and knowing something works are not the same thing. Democrats are using this issue as the boy who cried wolf. They do it every cycle when they don’t have an agenda.

Carney, a veteran of numerous presidential and national GOP campaigns over the past two decades, acknowledged that “obviously people are concerned in some states” about the issue of abortion.

But he said the main midterm issue would be “$5 for gasoline and in New Hampshire more than $7 for home heating oil,” along with soaring prices for natural gas and electricity. .

Republicans are also aiming to counter attacks on abortion by highlighting what they describe as Democrats’ “radical stance of supporting late-to-birth abortions.”

Edward N. Arrington