Tens of millions of dollars were invested in television advertising in the four states where major elections are taking place on Tuesday, a sign of the national implications of their results.
Threats against abortion rights are omnipresent in Democratic ads, even in states where the issue is not explicitly on the ballot. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, Democrats found electoral success by galvanizing opposition to restrictive abortion laws.
Advertisements for Republican candidates, in turn, often associate Democrats with President Biden’s record, as well as inflation, taxes and prevailing economic uncertainty. And if Republican candidates have been endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, it’s a safe bet they will appear in their ads.
Ohio’s high-stakes abortion shock
In Ohio, voters will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on Question 1, a ballot initiative that would enshrine the constitutional right to “make one’s own reproductive decisions” — thereby preventing the Legislature from controlling by the Republicans to adopt a strict law. anti-abortion bill.
But confusion over the language of the initiativeincluding the limits on abortion it would allow the state to impose, has been amplified by misinformation and exaggeration on and off the airwaves.
An ad released by Protect Women Ohio — an anti-abortion group that has spent more than $6.7 million on ad time, according to AdImpact, a media tracking company — features the state’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, and his wife, Fran, who says: “Question 1 would allow abortion at any time during pregnancy and deny parents the right to participate in their daughter making the most important decision of her life. »
(The statement is misleading: The amendment explicitly allows the state to restrict the procedure past the point of fetal viability, approximately 23 weeks, unless the patient’s physician deems the procedure necessary to protect the life or health of the patient.)
Most “vote no” ads reflect voters’ unease with late-term abortions, which data show are very rare and are usually performed in cases where doctors say the fetus will not survive.
Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, a coalition of abortion rights groups supporting the amendment, has spent $19.5 million on advertising since the beginning of September, according to the AdImpact analysis. The group’s ads, and “vote yes” ads in general, present the problem as government interference in personal health care decisions and in the ability of doctors to make life-saving decisions.
They are also sounding the alarm that young girls are being forced to carry the child of a rapist. In an announcement, a man says: “The state is trying to ban abortion, even in cases of rape. When I hear that, all I think about is: what if that was my daughter?
Virginia’s crucial state legislative races
All 140 seats in Virginia’s General Assembly are up for election, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, is leading an effort to flip both chambers to GOP control. The election will serve as a barometer of Mr. Youngkin’s popularity, gauge local mood toward Mr. Biden and test whether abortion continues to mobilize voters.
In total, about $72 million, including money from national groups, was spent on advertising in the state, with a dozen of the most competitive races accounting for about $50 million in advertising.
Generally speaking, Democrats argue that if Republicans win, Virginia will join other Southern states in sharply restricting abortion rights, while Republicans’ ads focus on tax cuts and job creation. Many of them feature Mr. Youngkin.
Some ads featured pointed attacks, with accusations of racism, socialism And scam. But in the tightest races, some candidates sought to find common ground — Democrats quoting their gun ownership, or Republicans saying they want protect women’s rights.
Kentucky’s decision on a Democratic governor
Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and the committees supporting him spent $46.9 million on advertising before the election, according to AdImpact analysis, far exceeding the $28.6 million spent supporting his Republican opponent, Daniel Cameron, the state attorney general.
Nearly all of that spending comes from two entities — Mr. Beshear’s campaign and Defending Bluegrass Values, a committee backed by the Democratic Governors Association — which each spent more than $23 million.
Advertisements supporting Mr. Beshear have focused on two major themes: hammering Republicans for their opposition to abortion rights, and Mr. Beshear’s file on infrastructure and economic growth. The ads avoid mentioning Mr. Biden, who has low approval ratings nationally and particularly in very conservative Kentucky.
Mr Cameron’s campaign adverts painted the popular Mr. Beshear as an ally of Mr. Biden, caving to the left on crime, LGBTQ rights and schools. Advertisements supporting him, many linked to national organizations including the Republican Governors Association, have been heavily criticized. Featured That of Mr. Trump approval from Mr Cameron (which also includes digs at Mr Biden).
Mississippi’s challenge to a Republican governor
In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican weakened by a vast social scandal involving well-connected Republican donors, also banked on Mr. Trump’s support.
This support is presented in an advertisement describing Mr Reeves’ Democratic opponent, Brandon Presley, as a puppet of “Joe Biden’s people”. (Another announcement says Mr. Presley’s campaign money comes from “liberal states.”)
Both sides spent a similar amount on advertising: $8.5 million for Mr. Presley, $9.5 million for Mr. Reeves.
Advertisements for Mr. Presley – a cousin of Elvis Presley, with the voice to prove it – have concentrate on his upbringing and addressed the argument that Mr. Reeves “doesn’t care about workers.”
Mr. Presley, who called himself “pro-life,” also campaigned on state Medicaid expansion. Health care is the focus of Democratic ads in Mississippi, where hospitals are facing a serious funding crisis.