By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director
Editor’s note. This appeared in the January digital edition of National Right to Life News.
Pro-Life Movement Mobilizes to Retake House and Senate Majorities in 2022
“The right to abortion nationwide hangs by a thread” reads the first sentence on the endorsed candidates webpage of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics. The pro-abortion movement understands just how critical the 2022 elections will be. But so do we. The pro-life movement is in a strong position to regain majorities in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. Pro-life victories in November can stop the radical Biden-Harris abortion agenda dead in its tracks.
The House majority is up for grabs in 2022 with Speaker Pelosi clinging to her gavel by only a handful of seats. A huge factor in many states will be the results of the redistricting process in which each state must redraw their Congressional district lines based on data from the 2020 Census. While some states have finalized their maps, some are still being drawn and others remain in litigation.
Pro-life Congressional candidates across the country are in a strong position in 2022. The current Democratic majority has pursued an extreme pro-abortion agenda that is out of touch with most Americans. This agenda includes forcing Americans to have their tax dollars used to pay for abortions. It also includes the passage of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine into law abortion-on-demand and would overturn existing pro-life laws and prevent new protective laws from being enacted at the state and federal levels. In educating voters about just how far outside the mainstream the Democratic majority stands, pro-life candidates can make significant gains and retake the House.
The following is an overview of the Senate states generally deemed competitive in 2022 by political observers and pundits. With about eleven months to go, this could change, and additional states could be added.
Pro-abortion Senator Mark Kelly (D) is up for a full term in 2022. In his two years in office, he maintained a 0% voting record with National Right to Life. Among his pro-abortion votes, Kelly voted in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion, and he voted against protecting unborn babies at 20 weeks when they can feel pain. In addition to his extreme pro-abortion voting record in a traditionally pro-life state, Kelly also must contend with underwater approval numbers for President Biden and the Democratic Party broadly. A recent Morning Consult poll found Biden with a net approval rating of -9 in Arizona, the worst numbers among states he won in 2020. Pro-life Attorney General Mark Brnovich leads the GOP field in early polling.
Many political observers currently categorize Colorado as Likely Democratic or Safe Democratic. But pro-abortion Senator Michael Bennet (D)’s reelection should not be seen as foregone conclusion. Just months ago, pro-life Republican Glenn Youngkin was victorious over a well-established former governor by two points in a state that Biden won by ten points, a twelve-point swing. While Biden won Colorado by thirteen points in 2020, Hillary Clinton only carried the state by five points in 2016. In a political climate that favors Republicans, Colorado could very well be in contention. Polling commissioned by one of Bennet’s Republican challengers found that “a generic Democratic Senate candidate would face a close race against a generic Republican candidate, the pollster found, with 44% favoring the Democrat and 42% picking the Republican.” All these factors considered, the argument can be made that Colorado is not a state to ignore, especially with the balance of power in the Senate split evenly. One net gain by either party wins the majority.
After two intensely competitive Senate races last cycle culminating in two Democratic wins, Georgia is back in the spotlight with pro-abortion Senator Raphael Warnock (D) seeking a full term in 2022. When he ran in 2020, Warnock was a first-time candidate without a voting record. Now, he carries the baggage of voting in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion and against commonsense legislation to protect unborn babies at 20 weeks when they can feel pain. To put it plainly, Sen. Warnock is out of touch with Georgia voters. There are number of pro-life Republicans who have thrown their hats in the ring, including football legend Herschel Walker. “I am 100% pro-life. As Georgia’s next senator, I will vote for any legislation which protects the sanctity of human life, even if the legislation is not perfect. Every human life is valuable and absolutely worth saving,” Walker said in a statement to NRLC affiliate Georgia Life Alliance. State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, military veteran Kelvin King and former Navy SEAL Latham Saddler, all three of whom hold pro-life views, have also thrown their hats in the ring.
The state of Nevada, a state represented by two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor, and which has not been carried by a Republican presidential candidate since 2004, has emerged as one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities in 2022. Incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto faces a strong GOP challenger in former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the grandson of former Nevada Governor and Senator Paul Laxalt. A November poll from the Trafalgar Group, which delivered some of the most accurate polling of the 2020 cycle and the 2021 Virginia Governor’s race, found Laxalt leading Cortez Masto by a margin of 44% to 41%. The issue of abortion has already made its way onto the campaign trail. “In my election, I think Nevada should be asking candidates for every office what they’ll do to protect these rights, and those who oppose reproductive rights should be held accountable at the ballot box,” Cortez Masto told CNN. Voters will certainly be holding candidates accountable, but it is Cortez Masto who should be worried. Her extreme pro-abortion position, which would allow abortion for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and would use tax dollars to pay for it, is out of touch with the views of Nevada voters.
Republicans have been looking forward to taking on Senator Maggie Hassan (D) since she won her seat by just 1,017 votes in 2016. During her time in the Senate, Hassan earned a 0% on National Right to Life’s legislative scorecard. A UNH Survey Center poll found that just 33 percent of voters approve of her job performance, while more than half (51 percent) disapprove. Additionally in the Granite State, President Biden’s approval numbers remain underwater and Republicans hold a five-point advantage on the generic ballot. According to polling, a generic Republican in New Hampshire bests a generic Democrat by a margin of 47% to 42%. In this climate, Republicans have real shot at flipping the seat. State Senate President Chuck Morse and retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Donald Bolduc have entered the race on the Republican side, and others may enter before the June 10, 2022, filing deadline.
In the Tar Heel State, incumbent Senator Richard Burr announced his intentions to retire at the end of his term, setting up a competitive battle for a Senate seat that has not been open since 2004. This is a must-hold seat if Republicans are to retake the Senate majority. While President Trump carried the state in both 2016 and 2020 and the state’s junior senator Thom Tillis won in 2014 and 2020, North Carolina remains one of the most highly contested and most expensive battlegrounds. Leading the pack for the GOP nomination are Congressman Ted Budd and former Governor Pat McCrory, both of whom are pro-life. By contrast, Democrats have largely coalesced behind pro-abortion former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley. Her position on abortion is far outside the mainstream. Beasley supports a policy of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and she would use tax dollars to pay for it. On her campaign website, she calls for gutting the life-saving Hyde Amendment, the longstanding appropriations rider that prevents the use of federal funds for abortions. She also calls for the passage of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, an extreme bill that would tear down most pro-life laws passed in states nationwide. Polling by Redfield and Wilton Strategies in November 2021 found a dead-heat race between either Budd and Beasley or McCrory and Beasley.
Like North Carolina, Pennsylvania has an open seat up for grabs in 2022 with pro-life Senator Pat Toomey choosing to retire and honor a pledge he made previously to run for only two terms. Prior to 2016 when President Trump carried Pennsylvania, it had not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. In 2020, President Biden, who was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, narrowly carried the state by a margin of 50.01% to Trump’s 48.84%. Given the competitive nature of state, it has drawn large fields on both the Republican and Democratic sides. With a filing deadline months away, even more candidates are expected to jump in the race.
Most political observers agree that pro-life Senator Ron Johnson is the most vulnerable Senate Republican in 2022. He is the only incumbent Republican senator up for re-election in a state carried by President Biden. (Although, Biden just narrowly carried the state. The final margin was 0.63% over President Trump.) Senator Johnson holds a 100% rating from National Right to Life for his two terms in office. On the Democratic side, around a dozen candidates are vying for the nomination. Most notably, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, both pro-abortion, have entered the race. Godlewski has the endorsement of EMILY’s List, a powerful Democratic fundraising group that pours money into the campaigns of Democratic women who support abortion without limits. Early polling in the race shows Barnes leading the pack for the Democratic nomination. In his race for lieutenant governor, Barnes was endorsed by the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics. Wisconsin is expected to be one of the tightest races in the country and critical for Republicans to hold if they are to retake the Senate.
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