By Andrew Bair
One of the most remarkable pro-life upsets in the 2014 elections was the victory by Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House, over pro-abortion Sen. Kay Hagan.
Even in the final days of the campaign, polling showed Sen. Hagan with a slight advantage. Yet, with 100% of precincts reporting, Tillis claimed victory with 48.97% of the vote to Hagan’s 47.29%. The difference was just 48,511 votes out of over two million cast, according to the Associated Press. The pro-life vote was instrumental in pushing Tillis across the finish line.
Thom Tillis prevailed despite massive spending by Kay Hagan and her allies, including pro-abortion groups like EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood. The contest became the most expensive race in Senate history with spending topping $100 million.
Appearing with Hagan on the campaign trail, Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards emphasized that winning the race was the “number one priority” for the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The race featured a sharp contrast on pro-life issues. As Speaker of the North Carolina House, Thom Tillis championed protections for unborn children and their mothers. Sen. Kay Hagan earned a 0% rating from National Right to Life, even opposing legislation that would protect unborn children from painful abortions late in pregnancy.
National Right to Life’s political action committees mobilized the pro-life grassroots in North Carolina, contacting over 795,000 identified pro-life households, hand-distributing over 300,000 pieces of literature, making 300,000 phone calls to pro-life households and running 5,647 radio ads in both English and Spanish.
Nationwide, fully 28% of voters recalled receiving, hearing, or seeing information or advertising from National Right to Life. A poll conducted by The Polling Company/ WomanTrend shows 23% of voters said that the abortion issue affected their vote and voted for candidates who oppose abortion. This compares to just 16% who said abortion affected their vote and voted for candidates who favor abortion, yielding a 7% advantage for pro-life candidates.
North Carolina Right to Life president Barbara Holt noted, “Electing Thom Tillis to the U.S. Senate was a top priority for NCRTL. Through the efforts of our grassroots volunteers and working with National Right to Life, we were successful in accomplishing our goal of helping to elect Thom Tillis. Our volunteers did a stellar job in getting the job done.”
Hagan’s loss, along with the high-profile Democratic defeats in the Colorado Senate race and the Texas Governor’s race, should give pause to candidates looking to charge pro-life lawmakers are “waging a war on women.”
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer noted, “I think this is the end of the ‘War on Women,’ and the Democrats have lost it.”