Boston Globe: Analysis: N.H.’s Sununu, the GOP’s top Senate recruit for 2022, may have just created a big political problem over abortion
The Boston Globe’s James Pindell is just the latest to write that Chris Sununu’s support for mandatory ultrasounds and an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly will be a major liability for him if he runs for governor or for U.S. Senate in 2022. Last week, the Concord Monitor’s Paul Steinhauser also reported on the political backlash against Sununu’s abortion ban. Boston Globe: Analysis: N.H.’s Sununu, the GOP’s top Senate recruit for 2022, may have just created a big political problem over abortion KEY EXCERPTS:
In a little-noticed move on Friday, the Republican Party’s top recruit to run for the US Senate next year— and possibly flip the balance of power in the chamber ― may have committed a mistake that will likely dominate next year’s election, should he end up running. [...]
What is so politically bad about the budget? While Democrats, who have zero power in Concord, will say it is many things including banning critical race theory from being taught in public schools, or an aggressive push for school vouchers, the real story is that it touched one place that no Republican should ever go in New Hampshire: abortion.
Since New Hampshire became a nationally watched swing state, there have been two issues that have defined which way elections typically go. While, sure, the state is susceptible to the national political mood, the general rule is that if a Democrat comes out for increased taxes or if a Republican is actively trying to restrict abortion access, they are toast.
Tucked into the so-called trailer bill of the budget that Sununu signed late Friday afternoon was a measure that would ban all abortions after 24 weeks, potentially sending doctors who perform them to jail for seven years along with fines up to $100,000. There is an exception for medical emergencies, but none for victims of rape or incest. In addition to that, New Hampshire will now require all patients seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound [...]
Democrats are already signaling on social media that should Sununu run for Senate next year they will make the argument that Sununu is, as they would put it, not really prochoice. For what it’s worth, Sununu has repeatedly said the abortion language was not his idea, even though he signed it into law.
This is, after all, the Democratic playbook in New Hampshire. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who is for abortion rights, got elected for governor the first time in the 1990s using social issues like abortion to her benefit against her Republican opponent, who wanted to make abortion illegal. As it happened, Hassan faced that same opponent in 2012 to win her seat for governor.
Abortion has been the talking point as Democrats rose to power in several election cycles. [...]
But the big picture takeaway is this: Sununu made himself more vulnerable to Democrats in quietly signing this bill. The fact that there was no budget signing ceremony is the biggest tell that he knew it also. He didn’t want to give Democrats an image for their ads next year.