An overview of the current Senate battleground map

By Karen Cross, NRL Political Director

Editor’s note. This appears on Page Four of the July digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the entire issue and pass along stories to your pro-life family and friends.

The battle for control of the United States Senate is overlooked by many during a presidential election year but make no mistake about it – a pro-life Senate majority is absolutely essential to the goal of passing laws that protect unborn children and their mothers, and stopping pro-abortion legislation such as the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

Here is an overview of the current Senate battleground map.

Alabama

Pro-abortion incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D) narrowly won a special election in 2017. Since being sworn into office, Jones voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. With his opposition to these priority pro-life bills, Jones has taken a stance in favor of late abortions and using your tax dollars to fund abortions. That is a far cry from the moderate image he tried to cultivate during his campaign. Additionally, Jones voted against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pro-life Republicans Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville will face off in a primary runoff election on Tuesday, July 14th. Regardless of who emerges victorious, there will be a clear contrast with Jones. Both candidates have been vocal in their support for the right to life.

Arizona

Pro-abortion Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D) speaks at a event for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Pro-life Senator Martha McSally (R) was appointed to the U.S. Senate following the passing of Sen. John McCain. Her 100% pro-life rating in the Senate earned her the endorsement of National Right to Life. She voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and confirmation of President Trump’s judicial nominees, including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

McSally faces former astronaut Democrat Mark Kelly, husband of pro-abortion former Rep. Gabby Giffords. Kelly has voiced his support for the current policy of abortion on demand as imposed by Roe v. Wade. “Women have the right to choose, and I’m going to stand up to defend that right,” stated Kelly.  Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and NARAL Pro-Choice America are both supporting Kelly. “Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations are going all-in. We’re investing deeply to engage voters, and we’re going to help elect Mark Kelly to the U.S. Senate,” said the abortion provider in their announcement.

President Trump carried Arizona by four points over Hillary Clinton in 2016 but many election experts believe the state will be a key battleground in 2020.

Colorado

Pro-abortion former Colorado governor and Senate candidate John Hickenlooper speaks with former Planned Parenthood president Leanna Wen following a Planned Parenthood-sponsored candidate forum.

Pro-life Senator Cory Gardner (R) faces a challenge from former Governor and failed presidential candidate John Hickenlooper (D). Gardner has maintained a 100% pro-life rating during his term in the Senate, voting in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and both of President Trump’s nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court – Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. He is endorsed by National Right to Life.

By contrast, Hickenlooper has been an ally to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and called for the repeal of the pro-life Hyde Amendment. “I look at the woman’s right to control what happens to her body as being inalienable,” Hickenlooper told the Washington Examiner. (A telling inversion. Our Founding Fathers used almost identical wording to describe the right to life in the Declaration of Independence.)

There are several factors working against Hickenlooper including ethics violations for which he was fined by the state ethics commission and a stronger-than-expected primary challenge from progressive Andrew Romanoff.

Georgia

NRL Federal Legislation Director Jennifer Popik, J.D., Pro-Life Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and NRL Political Director Karen Cross

The Peach State has two Senators up for re-election in 2020. Sen. David Perdue (R) is running for a second term and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) is running in a special election to complete the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson who retired in 2019. 

Sen. Perdue has a 100% pro-life rating from National Right to Life and has earned National Right to Life’s endorsement. Perdue, who has served since 2015, voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, and both of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

Perdue faces Jon Ossoff, a pro-abortion Democrat who lost a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional district in 2017. Ossoff is backed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. He noted that he “will only vote to confirm judges who commit to upholding Roe v. Wade.” Ossoff even cited that his motivation to run for Senate was in part to fight back against pro-life efforts in Georgia and nationally.

Due to Georgia’s system, a special election will take place on November 3, 2020, to finish out Sen. Isakson’s term. All candidates, regardless of party, will be placed on the same ballot. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election, which will be held on January 5, 2021.

The leading Republican candidates are Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins.

National Right to Life endorsed incumbent Sen. Loeffler, who has earned a 100% pro-life rating from National Right to Life. Loeffler, who took office in 2020, voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Rep. Doug Collins has a 100% pro-life score with National Right to Life.

The leading Democrat appears to be pro-abortion Rev. Raphael Warnock. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider, is supporting Rev. Raphael Warnock, calling him a “dedicated champion” for abortion.

Iowa

NRL Executive Director David N. Osteen, Ph.D. and Pro-Life Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)

One of the U.S. Senate’s most prominent pro-life women is up for re-election in 2020 – Sen. Joni Ernst (R) of Iowa. Ernst has maintained a 100% pro-life rating during her term in the Senate, voting in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and both of President Trump’s nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court – Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. She is endorsed by National Right to Life.

Her opponent, Theresa Greenfield (D), attempted to run for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd District in 2018 but was removed from the primary ballot after her campaign manager admitted to forging signatures to meet the quota needed to run. Greenfield is backed by EMILY’s List, a political action committee dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion without limits, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. This race is currently rated as Leans Republican.

Kansas

Pro-Life Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Roger Marshall (R-KS) with NRL President
Carol Tobias

The top candidates in the August 4, Republican primary are Congressman Roger Marshall and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, both of whom are pro-life.

National Right to Life and Kansans for Life have endorsed Congressman Roger Marshall in the U.S. Senate race in Kansas. As a member of Congress, Dr. Marshall voted pro-life 20 out of 20 times. He co-sponsored and voted for multiple pro-life bills, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. 

“As a pro-life obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Marshall knows the value of each human life and has an exemplary record showing his leadership on this issue,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

The winner of the Republican primary will likely face Barbara Bollier (D), a pro-abortion Kansas state senator, who voted against multiple pro-life bills including a state-level version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and a bill to provide pregnant women with information about abortion pill reversal. She is backed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. “She fought time and again to protect and expand access to healthcare — including abortion care,” stated Planned Parenthood. NARAL called her election “critical to securing a majority for reproductive freedom in the U.S. Senate.”

Kentucky

Pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and NRL President Carol Tobias

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is up for re-election in 2020. Few have done more to advance the right to life in the U.S. Senate than McConnell. 

“Senator McConnell has had an exemplary 100% pro-life voting record throughout his senate term. He has provided extraordinary pro-life leadership in the U.S. Senate and throughout his career,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, in McConnell’s endorsement announcement.  

In addition to his 100% pro-life voting record, McConnell has masterfully shepherded countless judicial nominees through the Senate, leaving a legacy that will impact the country for years to come.

Sen. McConnell faces pro-abortion Democrat Amy McGrath, a well-funded former fighter pilot and failed Congressional candidate who raised $17.4 million between April and June of this year. Despite being an adept fundraiser, McGrath nearly lost the Democratic primary after a series of missteps and the late surge of progressive candidate Charles Booker. McGrath voiced support for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court only to reverse her position later the same day.

McGrath put her abortion extremism on full display in a 2018 interview on 590 WVLK. “You don’t think there should be any limitations at all on abortion?” asked host Larry Glover. “I don’t think government should be involved in making a decision on a woman’s body,” McGrath said. “So you think a woman on the way to the hospital to give birth could decide to abort it instead?” Glover said. “I don’t think the government should be involved in a woman’s right to choose what is happening to her body,” McGrath said.

Michigan

Pro-Abortion Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) speaks to supporters of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider

In 2016, Donald Trump shocked political experts when he carried the state of Michigan. Now with Trump back at the top of the ticket, pro-life Senate candidate John James (R) is running against pro-abortion incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D). Peters holds a 0% rating from National Right to Life. He voted against bills to protect unborn children after 20 weeks, a point by which they can feel pain, and a bill to ensure babies born alive during abortions are afforded proper medical care.

John James is endorsed by National Right to Life and Right to Life of Michigan. By contrast, Sen. Peters was one of the first endorsements unveiled by Planned Parenthood in the 2020 election cycle.

While the race leans Democrat, polling has narrowed over the last two months. In May and early June, some polls showed Peters leading by as much as 15 points. Now, polls have James closing in at 6 or 7 points. The momentum is clearly in the pro-life direction.

Montana

In a clear pro-life versus pro-abortion matchup, Sen. Steve Daines (R) will face off against former governor and failed Democrat presidential candidate Steve Bullock in Montana. Sen. Daines holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life, having voted for key pro-life legislation like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. He also voted to confirm both of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. Daines is endorsed by National Right to Life.

In 2019, Steve Bullock told CNN that he believes that life begins when an unborn baby is able to survive outside the womb. But still does not believe those children deserve to be protected under law. “I would say that life begins at viability, but either way it’s not up to people like me to be making these decisions.” And yet when those very decisions came to his desk as governor, he did make a decision: he chose to veto. He twice vetoed a bill to protect unborn babies after 20 weeks, a point by which they can feel pain. Bullock even vetoed a bill that would have required babies born alive during an abortion to receive proper medical care.

North Carolina

In the Tar Heel State, pro-life Sen. Thom Tillis (R) is up for reelection. Tillis has earned a 100% rating from National Right to Life in his time in the Senate. In voting for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Tillis said, “It is truly heartbreaking that there are politicians in the United States who believe that babies who survive failed abortions should not receive the proper medical attention necessary to keep them alive. Today, I voted in support of commonsense legislation to protect unborn children at 20 weeks after fertilization and to ensure that newborns have the care they need and deserve. While Democrats continue to stake out extreme positions, I will never stop fighting for the sanctity of life.” National Right to Life has endorsed Thom Tillis.

Tillis faces pro-abortion former state representative Cal Cunningham, (D) who is backed by NARAL Pro-Choice America. “In the Senate, I will always defend Roe v. Wade, unlike Senator Tillis who just a few months ago asked the Supreme Court to revisit and potentially overturn it,” said Cunningham. In addition to NARAL, Cunningham has the support of Planned Parenthood. In their press release, they noted, “Defeating Senator Thom Tillis is especially urgent, given his leading role in attacks on abortion rights and Planned Parenthood funding in the Senate.”

As always, North Carolina will be a nail-biter. Defending Sen. Tillis may be the difference between a pro-life or a pro-abortion majority in the U.S. Senate.