‘Complete failure’: Senate Republicans on a punishing election night
Senate Republicans on Wednesday took a hard look at Tuesday night’s tough election results in some key battleground states, and they’re not happy with what they see.
“Yesterday was a total failure for me,” said Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Republicans have received a series of reprimands, from red Kentucky expected to move to re-elect Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, to Virginia being expected to elect Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, potentially thwarting a campaign promise made by GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin. At the age of 15 elections. – Ban on abortion for a week.
But even more telling for Senate Republicans was the message sent by red Ohio on abortion, where voters were expected to overwhelmingly choose to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
“I don’t think it’s a big secret, but in many states, abortion is not a winning issue for Republicans,” Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said on Wednesday. “The winning issues are about economics and the cost of living.”
He added: “The focus on abortion was not the biggest winner.”
Ohio’s election results continued a string of successful ballot initiatives that ensured abortion access in multiple states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Last night was a very clear case where most Ohioans by about 15 points said they believe women and their doctors should make their health care choices and not a bunch of politicians in Columbus, it’s that simple,” said Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio.
For some Senate Republicans, the results suggest that restrictive abortion policy is not resonating with their voters.
“This is an indication, in my opinion, that perhaps more women voted and perhaps more young women voted,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, D-West Virginia. “When people vote their voices are heard and I think that’s what happened. They don’t agree with some of the stricter abortion restrictions across the country.”
Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, said it will be up to each individual candidate to navigate how to handle abortion in their campaigns as the nation turns its attention to 2024.
“Abortion is a matter of conscience, so it’s not just something you change based on political gain,” Cornyn said. “But this is something that every candidate has to try to figure out for themselves, and every part of the country is a little different.” . “I will not state a general rule that applies nationwide.”
Senate Republicans have recently been forced to consider the implications of abortion policy in their chamber, as Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s months-long blockade over the Pentagon’s abortion policy — which reimburses military service members for traveling to receive abortions — has stalled the project. Confirm hundreds of military promotions.
He said Wednesday that the Ohio results do not change Tuberville’s mind.
“No, I represent Alabama, and I know where we stand,” Tuberville said. “So, as a national party, I don’t think there will be any movement on this. I don’t think the country is changing, I think sometimes there is a shift in momentum in different directions.”
Many Republicans suggested that after Tuesday night’s results, it’s time to shift the narrative from abortion to more “kitchen table” issues, which they believe will hold more interest with voters.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who heads the Senate Republican campaign arm, said he believes the 2024 election will focus more on the border, the economy and what he called “geopolitical catastrophe.”
“There’s a big difference between running on state issues, and these were all state elections, and running on federal policies that stand for Joe Biden,” Daines said. “It will be a very different set of issues in 2024 with the U.S. Senate.”
The No. 2 Senate Republican, Sen. John Thune, also said it’s time to shift focus to issues he believes will work for the GOP.
“We have to have a compelling message that appeals to suburban voters without a doubt about it,” Thune said. “So, I think the economy, jobs, cost of living and public safety are the frontiers. I think those are the issues that really resonate with people across the country, and our candidates this year will be on the offensive on that issue.”
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com