Democrats are energized after a pro-choice victory in an abortion referendum in Kansas on Tuesday, but only a handful of House seats are up for grabs in November in states where abortion is on the ballot.
Voters in Kansas dealt a blow to the pro-life movement on Tuesday when they overwhelmingly chose not to amend the state constitution to specify that there is no right to abortion. Some prognosticators suggested the result is a sign of Democratic momentum for the 2022 midterm elections, but there are only five other states with abortion referendums scheduled for November, and very few competitive races within them.
Americans will head to the polls to decide the future of abortion in their home states of California, Vermont, Montana, Kentucky and possibly Michigan. None of those states are projected to have competitive Senate races, and there are only three House seats currently held by Democrats that have been labeled “blowouts” by Cook Political Report.
Polling has shown for months that Republicans are almost guaranteed to win back the House, with a strong chance of taking the Senate as well, stalling Biden’s legislative agenda for the remaining two years of the president’s first term. Some Democrats saw the Kansas result as a possible sign of a change in the winds after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Robert Reich he tweeted that “Kansas is the beginning” and issued a warning to anti-abortion politicians for November. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, he said that Georgians should come out in November to save abortion after “Kansas showed us what’s possible.” Reuters published a piece claiming that Kansas offered the party an “abortion playbook” before November.
Yesterday, Kansas showed us what is possible when we come together to fight dangerous and cruel anti-abortion laws.
Georgia — it’s our turn now to show up in November and prove that we will stand up and fight for the right to choose in our state.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 4, 2022
Kansas is the beginning. Anti-abortion politicians: prepare for what will happen in November.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) August 3, 2022
But the numbers just aren’t there, barring a shocking electoral error in favor of the Democrats. FiveThirtyEight currently projects that Republicans will win a 27-seat majority, with Democrats falling from 220 seats currently to just 204. There aren’t nearly enough competitive seats in states where abortion is on the ballot to close that gap. (RELATED: ‘We’re following the law here’: Reporter confronts Jean-Pierre over Biden’s abortion executive order)
Even expanding the classification of races from “throwaways” to those “accepted” by Republicans or Democrats doesn’t go there. By that criteria, there are still only seven races where Democrats are defending a seat in a state with an abortion referendum — four in California and three in Michigan.
Despite the overwhelming #KansasVoteNo, House and Senate Republicans still plan to introduce a national abortion ban if they win in November. We can’t let that happen!
To protect your reproductive rights and freedoms, vote Democrat.
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) August 3, 2022
Mark my words, the anti-choice movement will look at the Kansas result and decide that their best path to criminalizing abortion is a federal ban.
It’s coming, and that’s the ballot this November.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 3, 2022
Democrats claim ‘abortion is on the ballot’ in November — emerged as a common talking point from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy. In reality, this only applies to a small portion of American voters, and not enough to save a Democratic majority in the midterms.