Pro-Life Recap: Primaries, Special Elections, and Runoffs in Florida, New York, and Oklahoma

By Karen Cross, Political Director

On Tuesday, August 23rd, voters made their voices heard in primaries, special elections, and runoff elections in Florida, New York, and Oklahoma. Here’s a pro-life rundown of some of the most noteworthy races. 

Florida Primary Elections

At the top of the ticket, pro-life Senator Marco Rubio (R), who is seeking a third term in the Senate, did not face a primary challenger. Senator Rubio holds a 100% pro-life voting record with National Right to Life. His strong record of advocacy on behalf of unborn babies and their mothers stands in stark contrast to that of Congresswoman Val Demings, the winner of the Democratic primary. Demings supports a policy of abortion on demand for any reason, until birth, and she supports the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. While serving in the House, Demings even voted against the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act, legislation to ensure infants who survive abortions are provided with the same degree of medical care that would be given to any other premature baby born at the same gestational age. The Cook Political Report gives the edge to Senator Rubio and labels the race: Leans Republican.

Pro-life Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who also did not have a primary challenger, will face pro-abortion former Governor Charlie Crist (D) in the general election. For the Democratic nomination, Crist defeated Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, the only Democrat currently serving in statewide office in Florida. Crist, a former Republican turned Democrat, currently serves in the U.S. House representing Florida’s 13th District. Earlier this year, Crist voted in favor of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that really should be titled the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act” because it would enshrine abortion on demand in federal law and policies, and it would even tear down pro-life protections on the state level. 

Crist also voted to eliminate the life-saving Hyde Amendment, which bars federal tax dollars from being used to pay for abortion in many federal programs. In contrast, Governor DeSantis has demonstrated pro-life leadership by signing legislation to protect unborn babies 15 weeks and older, signing legislation requiring parental consent before a minor can obtain an abortion, and dedicating more than $86 million for pregnancy support and prenatal health services.  

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a pro-life Republican, is up for re-election this year. She will face off against pro-abortion Democrat Aramis Ayala. The contrast between the candidates could not be clearer. Attorney General Moody has defended pro-life protections passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by the governor, like the law protecting unborn babies at 15 weeks and beyond. Conversely, Ayala, according to her campaign website, believes protecting unborn babies 15 weeks and older is “unconstitutional.” (In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson that a similar law enacted in Mississippi protecting unborn babies at 15 weeks and beyond is, in fact, constitutional.) If elected, Ayala suggests she would not defend pro-life laws in court, instead calling abortion a “sacred right” and a “top priority.”

Following this year’s redistricting process, in which Florida gained a new Congressional seat, the map for Congress saw major shake-ups. 2 seats currently held by pro-abortion Democrats have been moved into the Likely Republican column, according to the Cook Political Report. Both are open seats in 2022 after one Democrat opted not to run and the other decided to run for governor instead. These are Florida’s 7th District where pro-life Republican Corey Mills won Tuesday’s Republican primary and will face pro-abortion Democrat Karen Green, and Florida’s 13th District where pro-life Republican Anna Paulina Luna will face pro-abortion Democrat Eric Lynn. 

Republicans are looking to hold onto the 15th and 27th Districts, which also land in Cook’s Likely Republican column. In the 15th District, pro-life former Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee won the Republican nomination and will be up against pro-abortion Democrat Alan Cohn in the general election. In the 27th District, pro-life Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (R) will have to defeat pro-abortion Democrat Annette Taddeo in order to secure a second term. Taddeo is backed by EMILY’s List, the radical DC-based fundraising giant that supplies campaign funds to female Democratic candidates who share their support for abortion without limits. 

New York Congressional Primaries and Special Elections

On August 23rd, New Yorkers, who in June selected their nominees for U.S. Senate, Governor, and State Assembly, returned to the polls for Congressional and state Senate primaries after the courts tossed out egregiously gerrymandered maps devised by partisan Democrats for those offices. The new, fairer maps leave little doubt that there will be several highly contested races in the Empire State this November. 

New York also held two special elections for Congress in which the victors will immediately fill vacancies on Capitol Hill and serve until candidates are elected in November to serve the full two-year terms. In the special election in the 19th District, following the resignation of pro-abortion Congressman Antonio Delgado (D), pro-abortion Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro, keeping the seat blue. In the special election in the 23rd District, which was previously held by a Republican, National Right to Life-endorsed Joe Sempolinski (R) was victorious over pro-abortion Democrat Max Della Pia. 

According to the Cook Political Report, in the Tossup column for the November election are New York’s 3rd, 19th and 22nd Congressional Districts. For the open seat in the 3rd District, pro-life Republican George Devolder-Santos, who came close to winning a Congressional seat in 2020, is up against pro-abortion Democrat Robert Zimmerman, who supports a policy of abortion on demand for any reason and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for it. In the 19th District, Republican Marc Molinaro, who also ran in the special election, won the Republican nomination for the general election, and he will face pro-abortion Democrat Josh Riley in November. In the 22nd District, pro-life businessman Brandon Williams won the Republican nomination. He will face pro-abortion Democrat Francis Conole, who supports a policy of abortion on demand for any reason and would use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers.  

New York’s 17th and 18th Congressional Districts are considered Leans Democratic by the Cook Political Report. In the 17th District, pro-abortion Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, who serves as the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is in a tight race against Republican Assemblyman Michael Lawler. In the 18th District, pro-life Republican Colin Schmitt won his party’s nomination and will take on now-Congressman-elect Pat Ryan (D), who supports a policy of abortion on demand for any reason. 

In New York’s 1st District, which is considered Leans Republican by Cook, pro-life Republican Nick LaLota, a Navy veteran and local government leader, will face pro-abortion Democrat Bridget Fleming in the general election. Fleming is endorsed by EMILY’s List, the radical DC-based fundraising giant that supplies campaign funds to female Democratic candidates who share their support for abortion without limits. 

Oklahoma Senate Primary Runoffs

In Oklahoma, pro-life Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who holds a 100% rating with National Right to Life, won the Republican primary runoff election for U.S. Senate over pro-life former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon. Mullin will face pro-abortion Democrat Kendra Horn, a former Congresswoman, in November. The winner will serve the remaining four years of the term won by pro-life Senator Jim Inhofe (R) in 2020. Inhofe, who is 87 years old, announced last summer that he would retire at the conclusion of the 117th Congress.