By Andrew Bair
EMILY’s List, the political action committee that showers money on Democratic female candidates who back abortion without limits, announced its top House targets for 2016 on Monday. The group is hoping for a better showing than 2014, when despite having a massive financial edge, their candidates came up short. In that year, there were 26 races in which a candidate supported by National Right to Life was running against an EMILY’s List candidate. Nineteen (73%) of the National Right to Life-supported candidates won.
The full list of GOP incumbents placed “On Notice” for 2016 include Representatives Rod Blum (R-IA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Dan Donovan (R-NY), Crescent Hardy (R-NV), John Katko (R-NY), John Kline (R-MN), Steve Knight (R-CA), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Tim Walberg (R-MI), David Young (R-IA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).
EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock told Roll Call , “We’ve zeroed in on House Republicans whose refusal to stand up for women and families in their districts will get them sent packing in 2016.” Yet the targets include two women, Representatives Barbara Comstock and Martha McSally. It’s pretty ironic for a group that claims to speak for women to target female lawmakers for defeat.
A common thread among the targets is that they all recently voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), the bill to protect unborn babies 20 weeks and older from painful late abortions. The bill is supported by a majority of Americans, including a majority of women.
Here’s a more detailed overview of the some of the races in which EMILY’s List has targeted lawmakers who have compiled solid pro-life voting records.
– Rep. Rod Blum (IA) is facing one of the most competitive races in the country. Iowa’s 1st district went for President Obama in 2012 by a 14-point margin. Blum holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life. Cook Political Report rates the contest a “Toss-Up.”
– Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA) sits in a district located in an increasing blue region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mitt Romney narrowly carried the district in 2012 while Obama won it in 2008. Comstock faced an almost unceasing barrage of “war on women” attacks from pro-abortion groups in 2014 but prevailed by over 16 percentage points. She holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life.
– Rep. Rodney Davis (IL) won reelection handily in 2014, despite Romney barely carrying it in 2012. In 2008, Obama (then a senator from the state) won by an 11-point margin over John McCain. The power of incumbency aids Davis in the race. He holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life. Cook Political Report rates the race “Likely Republican.”
· Rep. Dan Donovan (NY) entered Congress earlier this year after winning a special election to fill the seat of ex-Rep. Michael Grimm, also a Republican. Donovan has only been in Congress for one key pro-life vote. He voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Roll Call rates the contest “Safe Republican.”
· Rep. Crescent Hardy’s 2014 victory in Nevada’s 4th District came as a surprise to political observers. The freshman represents a district Obama carried by 11 points. Hardy appears near the top of every list of most vulnerable incumbents in 2016. He holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life.
· Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is a perennial target for Democrats. Obama carried Minnesota’s 2nd District in 2008 and 2012. In 2014, comedian/political commentator Bill Maher selected Kline for his “Flip A District” campaign. Despite national attention on the race, Kline sailed to reelection with 56% of the vote. Currently in his seventh term, Kline holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life. Roll Call labels the race “Safe Republican.”
· Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) succeeded Rep. Buck McKeon in California’s 25th District, keeping the seat in pro-life hands. EMILY’s List may view Knight as vulnerable after a video went viral of the congressman having a heated confrontation with a protester. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball designates the race as “Likely Republican.” He holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life.
· Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) represents a district Romney carried in 2012 but that Obama won in 2008. Most political analysts give the edge to Walberg in 2016. Cook Political Report rates the contest “Lean Republican.” He holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life.
· Rep. David Young (R-IA) succeeded pro-life Rep. Tom Latham in the 2014 elections. The district runs about even in terms of the number of registered Republicans and Democrats. Obama won the district twice. Roll Call labels the race a “Toss-Up.” He holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life.
· Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) represents a district Obama narrowly won in 2012. Zeldin unseated pro-abortion Rep. Tim Bishop last November. Roll Call and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate the contest “Leans Republican” for 2016. He holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life.
Overall, unless a massive wave election occurs in 2016, it’s a pretty safe bet that Republicans will maintain control of the U.S. House. Cook Political Report summarizes 12 Democratic seats fall into the “Likely Democratic” category, 4 Democratic seats into the “Lean Democratic” category, and 3 Democratic seats into the “Toss-Up” category.
On the other side of the aisle, 15 Republican seats fall into the “Likely Republican” category, 13 Republican seats into the “Lean Republican” category, and 9 Republican seats in the “Toss-Up” category. Cook Political Report finds 169 seats are solid for the Democrats while 210 are solid for Republicans.