This week multiple states had primaries, allowing them to finally choose (or in some cases, just winnow down) new party nominees for the 2014 general election. What has really happened, though, is that the general public has declared that they just aren’t that into extremist, far right candidates anymore.
Two big contested Republican nominations for the Senate have been somewhat decided, in Kentucky and in Georgia. Despite a surge of enthusiasm for a far right Tea Party challenger, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell will still be his party’s nominee, winning a sizable 24 point victory over his challenger Matt Bevin. That scenario echoed across the country as Georgia, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Idaho all saw their “establishment” candidates win in primaries. Some of those establishment candidates are a little more vulnerable than others, however, such as Oregon’s new GOP Senate nominee Monica Wehby, accused of stalking and campaign mismanagement.
Despite the ballots being cast and counted, not everything is completely settled, though. A Georgia Republican primary will now go into a runoff between the top two candidates since no GOP candidate took a full 50 percent of the vote. Those runoff candidates will be David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston; Paul Broun, who was backed by the extreme “no exceptions” Georgia Right to Life group did not make the top two and, ironically, neither did Karen Handel, who was backed by the Susan B. Anthony List and conservative commentator Erick Erickson, and whose campaign appeared to be the impetus for a new anti-abortion political group in the state, which took over the state’s National Right to Life affiliation. Kingston already has made his hatred of abortion — and school lunches — very well known, even if he isn’t willing to force rape victims to give birth like Broun was. Kingston and Perdue will have a run off in July.
Now that the dust is mostly settled, abortion is likely to become a significant talking point in many of the Senate battles across the country, especially in races where the Republican has made it explicit that he or she is in favor of a “moment of conception, no exceptions” all out abortion ban. Both sides are likely to see this as a winning issue now, thanks to two very different readings of the same poll out of Politico. According to Politico, their poll says, “54 percent [of respondents] say they support the right to an abortion either with no restrictions (19 percent) or some restrictions (35 percent). Forty-five percent said there should be either a near-total abortion ban with some exceptions (34 percent) or a total ban on the procedure (11 percent).”
Abortion opponents say this is Politico “spinning” the numbers and that in reality, 80 percent support pro-life beliefs because they support abortion restrictions. But those “some restrictions” according to the internal questioning Newsbusters posted, are about as minimal as you can get: just parental notification and a ban on late term abortions. How likely are those people to support a candidate who says absolutely no abortions ever, even in cases of sexual assault or parental health?
We’re already watching this start to play out in up for grabs states across the country. In Montana, Democratic incumbent Sen. John Walsh has a new ad out attacking his GOP challenger over his no exceptions abortion position, which would forbid rape victims from being able to end a pregnancy legally. Those types of ad buys are likely to hit even more airwaves in more states now that the nominees have been identified and it’s time to get into the general election fray.
Just six months until November, and plenty of time for a Republican to declare a pregnancy from rape a gift from God or make another “legitimate rape” faux pas. The question at this point seems to just be which candidate will do it first.