Supreme Court ruling supercharges gubernatorial races as the abortion fight heads back to the states

Democrat Josh Shapiro is avidly pro-choice. Republican Doug Mastriano is avidly pro-life.

The views of the gubernatorial candidates in Pennsylvania are now going to get more attention with the Supreme Court’s decision to kick the issue of abortion back to the states.

“The governor’s race becomes paramount because of the governor’s veto power,” said John Cordisco, former chairman of the Bucks County Democrats in Pennsylvania.

“It’s one thing to have a court decision, it’s another to have legislation,” Mr. Cordisco said of the pending battle. “Now the issue of abortion is going to be front and center in the governor’s race.”

President Biden and congressional Democrats said the landmark ruling puts “Roe on the ballot” in the November midterm elections, where they are defending their fragile hold on the House and Senate and facing significant headwinds.

Odds are, though, that the most pressing abortion-related battles will play out at the state level now that governors can sign off on or knee-cap efforts to roll back or expand access to abortion.

“We know the Republican-led legislature is going to put a bill on the next governor’s desk to ban all abortions,” Mr. Shapiro said in a social media post. “I will veto that bill and protect abortion rights here in Pennsylvania, but my opponent he will sign it into law.”

In Pennsylvania, abortions are legal for up to 24 weeks and if a woman’s life or health is endangered.

Vulnerable Democrats across the US echoed the messages and tried to cash in on blowback against Friday’s ruling that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

In a fundraising appeal, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said the ruling was “devastating” and warned that “Michigan’s dangerous abortion ban could go back into effect – making abortion a felony in Michigan.”

“I am running against a slew of opponents who want Michigan’s abortion ban to stay in place. With abortion access on the line this November, every contribution is critical, ”she said.

Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin said the “grim news” left him “heartbroken.”

“It’s now up to the states to protect access to abortion,” Mr. Evers said. “I’ve already vetoed nine extreme Republican bills. As long as governor I will do everything in my power to protect reproductive health care. ”

“Can you join my team in this fight to protect choice?” he said.

Polls show that most voters are more concerned with inflation, the economy and other issues than they are about abortion access.

“Those who are really concerned about abortion – especially liberal women – already vote Democratic anyway,” said Steve Mitchell, a Michigan-based GOP strategist. “So the question becomes: What will the impact be on independent women?”

Still, Mr. Mitchell said voter attitudes could change now that the long-anticipated ruling is a reality.

“It’s one thing to be told a decision is coming down, it’s another thing to have the decision come down,” he said. “Now voters have to deal with the reality that in Michigan unless there is a concern about the life of the mother, you can not get an abortion.”

Christopher P. Borick, a political science professor and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said the abortion issue could help Democrats close the enthusiasm gap heading into the November election.

“Democrats are not energized in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Borick said. “Like in a lot of places, they are down right now. Republicans are incredibly energized, so now they have an issue that could help energize Democrats in a way that they otherwise would not be. ”

Others said the ruling will show how out of step Democrats are with voters.

“The Democrats think of this as an issue that will help them, but I do not believe it will,” said Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based GOP strategist and former gubernatorial candidate. “They are grossly misreading the electorate because even the folks in Pennsylvania who consider themselves pro-choice want abortion to be ‘safe, legal and rare.'”

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