Biden Campaign Takes Credit for Ohio Abortion Rights Victory

President Joe Biden is taking a victory lap following Ohio voters’ overwhelming defeat of an anti-abortion referendum Tuesday, as his campaign hopes to slough off low polling numbers and questions over the president’s age. The referendum, which would have made it substantially more difficult for Ohio voters to amend the state’s constitution, was widely seen as an attempt to prevent an abortion rights ballot initiative from succeeding in November.

“There are a lot of reasons we feel confident about this election, but this week alone, you’re seeing even more evidence that President Biden and Vice President Harris’ message is the right one for 2024,” wrote Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s campaign manager, in a memo to campaign donors and members of his national advisory board. “Our campaign is partnering with a stronger-than-ever national party that is already investing up and down the ballot, and organizing in communities year-round.”

The memo, first reported by Politico, cited more than 800,000 calls and millions of texts made by the DNC’s national organizing team in down-ballot races like Ohio’s ballot measure. Those elections include a Wisconsin Supreme Court race in which a liberal judge clobbered an anti-abortion candidate, and a Jacksonville, Florida mayoral race in which the Democratic candidate upset the DeSantis-endorsee a month after Florida passed a six-week abortion ban.

“Like we did in 2020 and 2022, we are already proving the prognosticators and pundits wrong again,” Chavez added.

Biden, who has undergone a long evolution into a defender of abortion rights, was quick to celebrate last week’s victory. “Today, Ohio voters rejected an effort by Republican lawmakers and special interests to change the state’s constitutional amendment process,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House late Tuesday night. “This measure was a blatant attempt to weaken voters’ voices and further erode the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions. Ohioans spoke loud and clear, and tonight democracy won.”

In the wake of Tuesday’s victory, national Democrats are pushing for a similar measure to be introduced in the battleground state of Arizona, according to a memo from the organizing group Indivisible, as first reported by Politico.

Such a vote would raise the “likelihood that pro-choice voters turn out to vote, boosting Democratic candidates up and down the ticket in a state with numerous, must-win competitive races at the Presidential, Senate, House, and state legislative level,” the memo argued. President Biden barely won Arizona in 2020. In Trump’s home state of Florida, which Biden lost in 2020, efforts are also underway to put abortion rights on the ballot next year.

Democrats’ continued success in races defined by abortion points to the issue remaining an albatross around the neck of the Republican primary field, which assembled in Iowa over the weekend for the state fair, a traditional campaign stop. The state recently passed a law banning most abortions after six weeks, though it has been temporarily blocked to allow legal challenges to unfold. On Friday, former vice president Mike Pence reiterated his support for a federal abortion ban, and said he planned on confronting frontrunners Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis on the issue at the first GOP debate in Milwaukee later this month.

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