Arizona's nearly total abortion ban overstates political dynamics

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is already expected to be one of the most closely contested states in November's U.S. presidential election. But the verdict is this week Establishing an almost total abortion ban It exaggerated the role of the state and made it perhaps the country's most important battleground.

This Sunbelt state has a fiercely liberal streak has long been at the forefront of the nation's immigration debate Because of its 378-mile border with Mexico and its large Hispanic and immigrant population. It now moves to the center of the national debate over reproductive rights after the US Supreme Court Ended the federally guaranteed right to abortion.

Abortion and immigration are two of the biggest political issues of the year. No battleground state was more directly affected than Arizona.

“Don't underestimate it,” John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster polling for President Joe Biden's re-election campaign, said of the Arizona abortion ruling. “It's going to be dynamic.”

Biden and Republican nominee Donald Trump are expected to battle hard to win Arizona.

In addition to the presidency, the U.S. Senate majority could be decided by a high-profile race between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego to replace retiring Sen. Kirsten Sinema, an independent competing with Democrats.

A state Supreme Court ruling renewing an abortion ban passed in 1864 also added rocket fuel to Democrats' push to add a question to November. Asking voters for votes To ratify a constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion to the extent possible, When an embryo survives outside the uterus. Abortions are then permitted to save the woman's life or to protect her physical or mental health.

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Chris Lacivita, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign who also serves as chairman of the Republican National Committee, described Arizona as a “strategic key.”

He declined to discuss any specifics of the strategy, but disagreed that the abortion ruling fundamentally changed the dynamics of Arizona.

“Is abortion an issue that the campaign needs to deal with in the battleground states — and Arizona in particular? Absolutely. We feel like we're doing it, and we're going beyond what we're supposed to do,” LaCivita said, suggesting that other issues will be more important to most Arizona voters this fall.

“The election is really going to be decided in large part on the core issues that most Arizonans have to deal with every day, which is, 'Can I put food on the table and feed my family and get a car to work?'” he said.

In June 2022, Roe v. Democrats are quick to note that they have won every major election on the abortion ballot since Wade's reversal.

The Biden campaign on Thursday launched a statewide pro-abortion ad campaign that it said will reach seven figures, though ad watchdogs have yet to confirm the new investment. According to Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz, the new ads come in addition to a $30 million nationwide ad blitz already underway.

In the new ad, Biden directly links Arizona's abortion restrictions to Trump.

“Your body and your decisions belong to you, not the government, not Donald Trump,” Biden says. “I will fight like hell to restore your freedom.”

Beyond the campaign trail, Vice President Kamala Harris appeared in Arizona on Friday, where she highlighted Democrats' commitment to protecting abortion rights, blamed Trump for destroying them and warned that “a second Trump term will be even worse.”

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“This is what a second Trump term will look like: more barriers, more suffering and less freedom,” Harris told a crowd of several hundred supporters at the Tucson Community Center. “He basically wants to take America back to the 1800s, just like he did in Arizona.”

He has vowed to sign legislation creating a nationwide right to abortion if Congress passes it, even if it has to survive a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

Even without this week's abortion ruling, Democrats are already betting big on Arizona this fall.

Biden's team is on track to spend more than $22 million on Arizona advertising between April 1 and Election Day, according to data collected by ad tracking firm AdImpact. That's millions more than other swing states like Wisconsin, Georgia and Nevada. Only Pennsylvania and Michigan see more Democratic advertising dollars.

Trump's team, meanwhile, has not spent anything on Arizona advertising this month and has yet to allocate any general election ads in the state, according to AdImpact.

Still, Trump, who has backed the Republican presidential nominee in every election since 1996, is pointing to a modest shift among Hispanic voters, a key group in the Democratic coalition, before endorsing Biden in 2020. Open to Trump.

Meanwhile, Arizona Republicans are still mired in GOP infighting, where the late Sen. The party machine built and nurtured by John McCain has been taken over by Trump's “Make America Great Again” loyalists.

The division came to a head in the 2022 gubernatorial primary as Trump and his allies eagerly lined up behind Curry Lake, while traditional conservatives and business establishments backed his rival.

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Lake won the primary. Instead of mending fences with the failed establishment, he gloated that he “drove a stake in the heart of the McCain machine.” He made more behind-the-scenes efforts to win over his GOP critics, with mixed results.

Lake, a prominent MAGA figure sometimes discussed as a Trump running mate, is now running in the state's top Senate race.

Like Trump, he has come out against the recent abortion ruling, arguing it is too restrictive. But two years ago, Lake called the abortion ban “a great piece of legislation,” said he was “incredibly thrilled” to have it on the books, and predicted it would “pave the way for other states to follow.”

The ruling played right into the hands of Gallego, his Democratic rival, who had already made abortion rights central to Arizona voters.

“I think we were on our way to winning it,” he said in an interview. “I think what it does is focus people's attention on abortion rights, not thinking of it as the most important thing or one of the main issues.”

Meanwhile, Anzalone, a Biden pollster, cautioned his party against overconfidence.

“It won't be easy. These are all closely related species. I'm not getting ahead of myself in any way,” he said of the struggle for Arizona this fall. “But we like the goodness there.”

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