Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Arizona abortion ban fight jolts packed GOP House primary

By 37ci3 May2,2024



On Tuesday night, Arizona House Speaker Ben Thoma defended himself, pushing back against criticism that he could stall efforts to overturn the state’s 1864 abortion ban.

“I’d like to see how you stop this in the Senate on Wednesday,” quipped Republican Sen. Anthony Kern, less than 24 hours before the state Senate was set to begin business and ultimately passed, a measure to overturn a civil war-era ban. The State House approved the bill last week.

But Thomas and Kern were not facing each other at the state Capitol. Instead, they clashed in the Republican primary debate in Arizona’s ruby ​​8th Congressional District.

Arizona Supreme Court Bomb decision last month The 160-year-old abortion ban has added another layer to the crowded and competitive race, which will shed light on where the party’s core base stands in a key battleground.

Like the Republicans nationally and within the state Fighting a potential defeat on the issue this year, the party’s Phoenix-area candidates are embracing one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans ahead of this summer’s primary.

“I’m 100% pro-life,” Thoma said after backing the federal abortion ban. “I think the recent events at the state Capitol have made my position on this very clear. Therefore, I really don’t have much to say.”

It’s not yet clear whether Thomas’ turn in the spotlight over the state’s abortion ban could boost him in the primary and ultimately help send him to Congress. The abortion did not come until 42 hours Arizona PBS Debateand some Republican strategists in the state say issues like border security and voting rights are higher priorities for GOP primary voters.

After congressional candidates described themselves as “pro-life” on Tuesday, it was revealed that support for the abortion ban – cancel the effort is more of a political asset than a liability in this deeply conservative region.

Upcoming debates

Before the Arizona Supreme Court decided to reinstate the ban — a law that could have sent a doctor to prison for providing an abortion — the Republican primary race in the 8th Circuit had some controversy.

Former congressman was forced to resign over the pregnancy surrogacy scandal. A former state attorney general candidate who lost two years ago 280 vote – and who continues to protect the election stolen from him. State Senator and “Fake voter” in 2020 He was indicted on charges of trying to subvert that election. A losing candidate in a high-profile US Senate race in 2022. And Thomas, who led the counter-charge cancels the highly publicized abortion ban.

The 8th District — in the northwest valley of the metropolitan Phoenix area with a large, elderly, retired population and a large portion of evangelical Christians — is solidly Republican. The winner of the July 30 primary is confident of defeating presumptive Democratic nominee Greg Whitten in November. As a result, the crowded field of conservatives did not have to litigate the broader issue of reproductive rights, as national and state Republicans in Arizona were forced to do.

“They’re pretty much all on the same page,” Phoenix-based Republican strategist Barrett Marson said, referring to the GOP field’s collective views on abortion. “This district is probably pretty pro-life.”

The repeal debate “isn’t going to be a problem in this district because they’re all pro-ban,” he said.

“Abortion doesn’t seem to be the main issue they’re fighting on,” added a state Republican operative. “They are fighting over who is the establishment candidate and who is the toughest on the border.”

This dynamic has subsequently allowed candidates to contend with a number of other hot buttons. Arizona is the center of 2024 politicsincluding MAGA credentials, endorsements and boundary issues.

Thomas has vehemently opposed legislative efforts to repeal the near-total abortion ban, a position several strategists in the state say he wants to carve out a lane to appeal to social conservatives in a crowded field. He even filed a brief in a case defending the preservation of the 1864 law and used it twice last month in legislative sessions to kill the repeal bill on procedural grounds.

A spokesman for Thomas’ campaign did not respond to questions. In court proceedings over the past three weeks, Toma has spoken passionately and emotionally about his stance against overturning the ban.

“I would ask everyone in this chamber that some of us believe that abortion is actually the murder of children,” she said. during During the April 17 session, House Republicans blocked a vote on repeal for the second time in two weeks. (Next week, state House members succeeded Passing the repeal after three Republicans joined all 29 Democrats in the chamber.)

It was Thomas confirmed Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., who announced her retirement in October after representing the 8th District, as well as former Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and former Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz.

Battle over Trump connections

Meanwhile, two candidates were believed to be the frontrunners in the race — financier Blake Masters, who lost his bid for the U.S. Senate in 2022, and Abraham Hamadeh, who lost the 2022 attorney general race by just 280 votes. claims the race was stolen from him is the centerpiece of his current campaign — barely mentioning the abortion ban.

Instead, the two are arguing over who should stick closer to former President Donald Trump and his MAGA brand. Hamada was the winner of Trump confirmationa fact he often noted.

“This is probably the most meaningful endorsement in the Republican primary,” said Constantine Guerard, an Arizona political strategist who does not work with any of the campaigns in the race but has worked for Thomas and Kern’s legislative campaigns.

“It dominates Abe’s messaging,” he said. “Obviously they think it’s important. Especially in a crowded elementary school, [when] you’re trying to figure out how to get to the 30% first, you can see why he’s so focused on that message.” (In a field with six candidates, the winner will likely win the race with a plurality of votes.)

However, Masters, who received Trump’s support in the Senate elections two years ago, he said in his first cable TV ad last month, he said he was an “America First fighter” who would “support Trump 100%.”

In response to questions from NBC News, a spokesman for the Hamadeh campaign referred to the candidate’s comments to the conservative news outlet. Newsmax He called the state Supreme Court’s ruling last month a “complete victory for Democrats” because it was “not enforced” by state officials. He added that he believed the “effects” of prohibition, which was reinstated in 1864, “would not really be very significant.”

A spokeswoman for the Masters campaign did not respond to questions. Masters said Arizona Republic, in response to questions about his position on the 1864 law, said, “I am proud to be pro-life, and I make no apologies for it.” Masters said during his failed 2022 senate bid would support A national abortion ban similar to Arizona’s 1864 law.

A comeback attempt

While strategists in the state saw Hamadeh, Masters and Toman as the three main contenders in the race, none wanted to completely discount the other two men in the race despite their considerable baggage.

One of those candidates is Trent Franks, who suddenly served 16 years in Congress resigns In 2017, he admitted to discussing surrogacy with two former female employees at the time. Another allegation involving Franks surfaced shortly after he resigned offered the employee 5 million dollars to give birth to the child due to her family’s struggle with infertility.

Another candidate is Kern, who is among 18 aides and allies of Trump was charged last month by an Arizona grand jury for their role in a broad effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s 2020 election.

Franks in particular could get meaningful support. He is well known in the area after serving in Congress and remains closely connected to the region’s large evangelical community. Strategists are still debating the impact of her surrogacy scandal seven years ago.

“I don’t think voters are too concerned about why he left office,” Guerard said. “It’s been a long time.”

On the other hand, Marson explained, “the problem is that every time you Google ‘Trent Franks,’ his scandal comes up.”

Even if there isn’t much difference in positions on abortion among the candidates, having a record to support that position can be important in a crowded primary with heavy evangelical voters.

“The advantage of Thomas, and to some extent Kern and Franks, is that majors don’t have the lifetime voting record that Abe has,” Guerard said.





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