Don Bolduc didn’t have much time to celebrate winning the Republican nomination for Senate in New Hampshire on Wednesday before he and other swing-state GOP candidates were on the defensive.
A conservative retired Army brigadier general, Bolduc insisted during the Republican primary he would “always default for a system that protects lives from beginning to end.” But South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s decision to introduce legislation this week that would create a national abortion ban created the prospect that a campaign talking point could become a reality.
With his attention now shifting to the November general election in a moderate state that President Joe Biden carried by more than 7 percentage points, Bolduc quickly distanced himself from Graham’s measure.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he told Fox News, adding that abortion laws are better left to each individual state. “Women on both sides of the issue will get a better voice at the state level.”
With less than two months until the midterm elections, Bolduc’s pivot is a sign of the challenge dividing Republicans in some of the most competitive states as they navigate abortion politics. The party was already facing a potential backlash from voters upset by the Supreme Court’s June decision invalidating a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. But Graham’s legislation risked adding to the headwinds, undermining the GOP’s argument this summer that the future of abortion rights in the U.S. would be decided by individual states.
Graham’s bill would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest or risk to the physical health of the mother. Congressional Republicans have introduced similar legislation in the past and, like those efforts, this measure is unlikely to become law.
But Democrats were quick to point to the measure to warn that handing control of Congress to Republicans could lead to a broader erosion of rights.
“In the world’s greatest democracy, Don Bolduc will make women second-class citizens,” New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats, said at a quickly arranged press conference Wednesday. “National Republicans, from Mike Pence to leaders in the Senate and House, have waited years for the chance to ban abortion nationwide. If Don Buldoc is in the Senate, they would have a reliable vote to do just that.”
The legislation exposed deep frustration among Republican candidates and strategists who have found no answer on the politics of abortion since the Supreme Court’s ruling. There was concern that the measure shifts attention away from Biden’s vulnerabilities, including persistent inflation.
“It’s probably the right bill at the wrong time,” said veteran Republican strategist Chris Wilson.
Graham’s plan, he said, “gives the Dems the chance to talk about abortion more. And right now Republicans are losing when talking about abortion.”
Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk derided Graham’s proposal as “election interference.”
“I would love a total abortion ban — 15 weeks is not enough,” Kirk said. “But I’m also not dumb; 25 days out from ballots going out the Democrats are applauding, thank you Lindsey …read more
Source:: News Headlines