Republican candidates across the country are trying to do away with the hard-line anti-abortion stances they took in their primaries.
Why is it important: It’s a long-standing practice for candidates of both parties to alter their rhetoric for general election audiences, but this year’s messaging gymnastics is next level.
- Some GOP candidates are also limiting their focus on voter fraud conspiracies regarding the 2020 election and other far-right or Trump-centric topics.
Enlarge: Big victories in an abortion referendum in Kansas and a special election in New York, in which Democrat Pat Ryan made abortion a central issue, have emboldened Democrats.
- Republicans initially argued that abortion would not significantly boost Democrats.
- But on the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Arizona and North Carolina, GOP candidates are eliminating abortion language from campaign websites and adjusting rhetoric along the way. .
Details: Blake Masters, the GOP Senate nominee in Arizona, removed language that read, “I’m 100 percent pro-life,” according to NBC News.
- House candidates Tom Barrett of Michigan, Christian Castelli in North Carolina and Barbara Kirkmeyer in Colorado have also removed the language from their websites. (Kirkmeyer’s campaign said it “recently completed a complete overhaul of Barb’s website. Instead of addressing many issues, we’re focusing on the three issues in which voters express the most interest.” )
- Minnesota GOP candidate for governor Scott Jensen edited his website copy to water down his message on abortion, removing lines such as “He believes in the sanctity of human life, conception to natural death”.
- In Oregon, GOP gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan cleaned up her website’s issues page, which had previously touted pro-life bona fides. But her campaign says she was “not shy about sharing her views”. His opponent, Betsy Johnson, recently posted an ad calling Drazan “too extreme for Oregon” because “Drazan wants to make abortion illegal.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Oregon all run abortion ads.
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a list of Republicans who changed their stance on abortion and placed a billboard at the Michigan State Fair against the ‘extreme agenda’ of GOP candidates On the question.
- The Pelosi-aligned House Majority PAC, meanwhile, is preparing a series of abortion-focused ads accusing the party of trying to restrict rights and freedoms.
What they say : “We will make sure voters see and hear what Republicans have said in their own words — and if they try to hide from their record, it will only reinforce that they can’t be trusted. “said Nora Keefe, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
The other side: Republicans say if it were up to Democrats there would be no abortion restrictions, saying that’s extreme.
- Republican National Committee spokeswoman Nicole Morales told Axios that the majority of Americans “do not support the Democrats’ extreme taxpayer-funded abortion agenda, and Republicans are just exposing their lies.”
Zoom out: Abortion isn’t the only issue Republicans are trying to put on the back burner by November.
- Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano deleted 14 videos from his Facebook page in which he touts far-right positions, including calling climate change “pop science”.
- “Dan Cox, Republican candidate for governor of Maryland deleted his account on Gab, a social media platform known as an online hub for hate speech and white nationalists, and his campaign website no longer notes his fight against the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election,” according to the Washington Post.
- In Wisconsin, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels mention erased of his endorsement of Donald Trump, removing the words “Trump-endorsed” from his website biography. (He then added the words after being called.)