The arguments, messages and stakes before the big Kansas abortion vote

WASHINGTON — If it’s Monday… The death toll from flooding in Kentucky rises to 28 … First delivery of grain leaves Ukraine since Russian blockade. … Senate Democrats to press to vote on the reconciliation deal this week, but all 50 members must vote and be present, reports NBC’s Sahil Kapur. … Democrats are also hoping to pass legislation blocked by Republicans to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. … NBC’s Mike Memoli writes that the Biden White House is preparing for a challenging August. … and Joe Manchin elevated Eyebrows with answer to the midterms.

But first: Of all Tuesday’s contests we’ll be covering, the biggest could be Kansas’ statewide abortion amendment.

It is the first choice on abortion since the US Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade lifted. And NBC’s Dasha Burns and Abigail Brooks have new accounts of the contest where Kansans will vote:

“Yes” to amend the state’s constitution to clarify that a right to an abortion is not guaranteed (after the state’s Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that it was);

or “no” to keep the constitution of the state as it is.


What happens if “Yes” wins on Tuesday?

“I think we’ll see [abortion] restrictions very soon. Kansas has long placed abortion at the center of its policies,” Emily Wales, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told Burns.

“This paves the way for future talks [on abortion bans/restrictions] happen,” said Danielle Underwood, spokeswoman for the Value Them Both Coalition, which is leading the Yes campaign. “I want to see a future where Kansans are involved in the discussion. Your unelected judges are not deciding the proper limits of abortion in our state for the rest of us. … And passing the amendment is the only way for us to get involved in this discussion again.”

Ultimately, what do the yes supporters want if the constitutional amendment goes through?

“I hope we pass this [amendment] on August 2nd. And then and then we’ll see what happens. I honestly do not know. And again I didn’t talk to people about it. I don’t really know what’s next,” Republican Susan Humphries said.

Why is the vote taking place on a primary election day in August and not a general election?

“I think that is a very big obstacle for us. I think the decision to put it on the first ballot was intentional,” said Ashley All, a spokeswoman for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, who is leading the no effort. “And I think the hope was that fewer Kansans would vote.”

“From our point of view [August] was a good date for it because it gave the people of Kansas enough time to educate themselves about the change to educate themselves about the truth of the change,” countered Value Them Both’s Underwood. “It hasn’t entered that cloud of other … activities surrounding a general election so the people of Kansas can really focus on this very important issue before them.”

Our take: Given Kansas’ red political color and the August election date, a “No” keeping it close would demonstrate the power the abortion decision has wielded among Democrats since the fall of Roe v. awarded to Wade.

And a “no” win would be quite a statement.

Data Download: The number of the day is…$12.4 million

That’s how much money was spent on ads focused on the Kansas abortion ballot initiative, according to ad-tracking firm AdImpact.

GOP groups supporting the ballot initiative easily outperformed the group opposed to the constitutional amendment, spending nearly $6.4 million on top of the $6 million Kansans spent on constitutional liberty. The main group supporting the amendment is known as Value The Both.

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom has received funding from national abortion rights groups including NARAL and Planned Parenthood, according to recent fundraising reports. Appreciate Them Both received sizeable donations from several Catholic churches and dioceses, as well as GOP Sen. Jerry Moran’s FreeState PAC.

Other numbers to know:

2: The number of House Republicans who defied their party on Friday and supported legislation banning assault weapons.

5: The number of House Democrats who defied their party on Friday and spoke out against a law banning assault weapons.

14: The number of times a moderate hit triggers a progressive hit in an analysis of 22 Democratic congressional primaries this year, Axios reports.

28: The number of fatalities reported so far in Kentucky as a result of devastating flooding. The number is expected to rise in the coming days, Gov. Andy Beshear told Meet the Press on Sunday.

Tweet of the day

Midterm Roundup: Up to the Wire in Michigan

Former President Donald Trump’s last-minute endorsement of conservative commentator Tudor Dixon has rocked the GOP gubernatorial primary in Michigan, with Michigan voters heading to the polls on Tuesday. Trump card plans to hold a tele-rally for Dixon tonight, according to the Detroit News.

Dixon had a slight lead in the race in recent polls, and she’s also supported by the wealthy DeVos family. (As a reminder, Trump’s former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos resigned after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.)

But Dixon’s rise in the GOP primary once seemed unlikely, NBC News’ Allan Smith and Henry Gomez of Taylor, Mich. reported their petitions. And a Super PAC funded by the DeVos family helped boost her candidacy.

The key question for Dixon is: Can she win in November?

Elsewhere in the campaign:

Arizona Senate: Republicans Blake Masters and Jim Lamon, two front-runners in Tuesday’s Senate primary, recently told NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard that they would have objected to the certification of the Electoral College’s votes in 2020 had they been in the Senate .

Pennsylvania Senate: The campaign arm of the Senate GOP privately expresses concerns about Mehmet Oz’s campaignPolitico reports (although an NRSC spokesman said after the report was released that “any suggestion that we don’t have full faith in the Oz campaign and our chances of winning PA is wrong”).

Missouri Senate: The Missouri Senate GOP primary is considering whether disgraced former governor Eric Greitens may be making a comeback, reports CNN.

North Carolina Senate: The Democratic Party engages in ‘hard-hitting effort’ to unseat a Green Party candidate from voting in the North Carolina Senate race, reports the Associated Press.

Wisconsin Senate: State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski was eliminated from the Democratic Senate primary on Friday, making way for Lt. gov. Mandela Barnes free. That allows Barnes to focus on defeating GOP Senator Ron Johnson starting with a new ad was released on Sunday, criticizing the senator for being “out of touch”.

California-47: NBC News’ Sahil Kapur reports on Republican attempt to overthrow Rep. Katie Porter in this swinging Orange County neighborhood.

Kansas-03: Democratic MP Sharice Davids is Highlighting Republican opposition to abortion Kansas right-wingers as strategy to retain their vulnerable seat in November’s midterm elections, the AP reports.

Michigan-11/Michigan-12: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., went to Michigan over the weekend to rally for Rep. Andy Levin and Rashida Tlaib, two Democrats who face key challengers on Tuesday.

Advertisement: Fight against interference from the Democrats

Last week, the House Democrats’ campaign arm began running a television ad in Michigan’s 3rd Circuit in support of John Gibbs, a far-right Trump-backed candidate running against incumbent GOP Rep. Peter Meijer.

An external group is fight back in a new ad defending Meijer ahead of Tuesday’s primary. The Michigan Principal Leadership Group appears to be partially funded from Meijer’s father.

“Fox News confirms it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect their handpicked congressional candidate in the Republican primary, John Gibbs,” the ad narrator tells viewers.

“West Michigan must reject Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked nominee for Congress. Say no to John Gibbs,” the narrator continues.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world:

President Biden tested positive for Covid again in a ‘rebound case’

The DNC postponed its vote on whether to keep Iowa and New Hampshire as the “nation’s first primaries,” delaying a decision until after the midterms.

The New York Times reports on it unexpected democratic benefits in governorships across the country. The arguments, messages and stakes before the big Kansas abortion vote

Fry Electronics Team

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