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PORTSMOUTH, NH – Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan vows that she’ll "fight and never back down" to protect legalized abortion in her latest TV ad running in her home state of New Hampshire.
Hassan was the first Democratic senator from a key battleground state who’s facing a challenging reelection in November’s midterms to go up with a commercial on abortion in wake of last week’s monumental move by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to upend the landmark half century old Roe v. Wade ruling.
"This decision catapults us backwards, and there are politicians like Mitch McConnell, who’ve made it clear that their objective is to ban abortion nationwide," Hassan charges in her ad. "We will not be intimidated. I will fight and never back down. I’m Maggie Hassan and I approve this message because protecting our personal freedoms isn’t just what’s right for New Hampshire, it’s what makes us New Hampshire."
Hassan ad is one of a slew of spots from Democratic incumbents and candidates running this year, as well as party committees and outside groups, to start running this week in Senate, House and gubernatorial races.
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The political wing of Emily’s List, a group that works to elect female Democratic candidates who support abortion, also went up with an ad praising Hassan for pushing "for a federal law to protect a woman’s right to make her own personal decisions."
New Hampshire’s Senate primary isn’t until early September, so Hassan doesn’t know which Republican challenger she’ll be facing off with in November. But she’s been heavily targeted by the GOP, which views her as vulnerable as she seeks a second term.
But in states where the GOP nominees have already been determined, Democrats are taking aim.
A commercial launched this week in the key swing state of Pennsylvania targets Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor and cardiac surgeon known as Dr. Oz, who won the GOP Senate nomination in the open seat race last month.
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"I am pro-life. I have been very clear on my position," Mehmet Oz says in a clip in the ad, which was put up by the political wing of Planned Parenthood.
The narrator in spot charges that Oz "wants to make abortion a crime in Pennsylvania."
A separate political wing of Planned Parenthood took to the airwaves in battleground Wisconsin to take aim at GOP Sen. Ron Johnson on the issue. Democrats consider Johnson the most vulnerable Republican senator running for re-election this year.
The political wing of Emily’s List is up with a spot in Nevada that highlights the anti-abortion stance of former state attorney general Adam Laxalt, who’s this year’s GOP Senate nominee.
And Washington State Democratic Sen. Patty Murray launched a commercial that uses a clip of Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley saying "I am 100% pro-life."
Democrats also took to the air to run abortion ads this week in House races and in gubernatorial battles — including in Illinois, where Gov. JB Pritzker uses clips of GOP nominee and state Sen. Darren Bailey discussing his anti-abortion views of him.
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The national ad tracking firm AdImpact said that as of Thursday, they’d seen $4 million spent to run abortion commercials since last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.
Democrats aim to spotlight the issue between now and November, when the party will be defending their razor-thin House and Senate majorities as they face historical headwinds in an extremely difficult political climate fueled by skyrocketing gas prices, soaring inflation and President Biden’s underwater approval ratings .
Party strategists see a silver lining in the seismic overturning of Roe v. Wade and the returning the issue of legalized abortion to state legislatures.
It may offer Democrats a chance to alter the campaign conversation, energize the left-leaning base, and win back key female and suburban voters who helped the Democrats win back the House in 2018 but appeared to cross party lines in some 2020 congressional contests and again in GOP victories in elections in Virginia and New Jersey last November.
Democrats point to 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 may motivate more Democrats rather than Republicans to vote in the midterms. They aim to turn anger about the decision into support at the ballot box, even as Republicans aim to keep attention on rising prices and crime less than five months before the midterms.
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"There are going to be dozens and dozens of close races on Election Day and the abortion issue is going to swing it to the Democratic candidate in a lot of them," veteran Democratic pollster John Anzalone told Fox News.
"Abortion is going to be illegal in a large swath of America on Election Day in places voters never thought it would be and there will be a reckoning by voters on GOP candidates who support a ban and often without exceptions for rape and incest. This puts GOP candidates on the defensive when just a month a go only Democrats were on the defensive," Anzalone, the chief pollster for President Biden’s 2020 campaign, emphasized.
But longtime Republican consultant David Carney argued that "saying something works and knowing something works is not the same thing. Democrats use this issue like the boy who cried wolf. They do this every cycle when they have no agenda."
Carney, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential and statewide campaigns over the past couple of decades, acknowledged that "obviously people are concerned in some states" over the issue of abortion.
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But he said the midterms top issue is "going to be $5 dollar gas" as well as the skyrocketing prices for home heating oil, natural gas, and electricity.
And Republicans aim to counter the attacks on abortion by spotlighting what they describe as the Democrats' "radical position of supporting late-term abortions up until the moment of birth."