It only took a half-hour from the conclusion of Wednesday’s night debate at the University of Mary Washington for Democrat Joshua Cole to put abortion and women’s health at the center of the House District 65 race.
In a press release received by FXBG Advance at 8:25, Cole’s team wrote:
For the first time, Republican Lee Peters went on the record with his anti-abortion stance. Democrat Joshua Cole repeatedly held Peters accountable for advocating for a ban, a stance that is deeply out of touch with the voters he’s seeking to represent.
In recent weeks, polling has consistently shown that voters are de-emphasizing the abortion issue while turning to kitchen-table issues as families continue to struggle financially in the wake of the pandemic.
Cole’s move suggests he is betting voters will again be energized by women’s health care as the election draws closer. Especially as it becomes increasingly clear that Gov. Glenn Youngkin is likely to advance more-restrictive abortion bans should the Republicans win both the House and the Senate.
In the debate, Peters expressed support for a 15-week ban, which is consistent with the position that the governor has taken. However, there is a significant faction within the Republican Party that is pushing for a total abortion ban. Youngkin has not signaled if he would sign a total ban if that legislation were moved to his desk by the General Assembly.
Concern that Congress would push for a national ban on abortions in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal was clearly front-and-center in voters’ mind in November 2022. Projected to lose both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate in a “Red Wave,” voters concerned about a woman’s right to control her own health care turned out in large numbers to keep the Senate in Democrats’ hands, while the Republicans won the House by the narrowest of margins.
As we head into the final turn to November, expect women’s health care to emerge again as a driving issue in this election. The real question will be if it becomes an issue outside the HD 65 race. If it does, it could significantly change the course of the race for Senate District 27.