Indiana Democrats push abortion issue as early voting starts

Indiana voters can begin casting early, in-person ballots Wednesday for the Nov. 8 election in which Democrats are looking for a backlash against the Republican-backed state abortion ban approved over the summer.

Republicans in the tightest races are largely avoiding the abortion issue while emphasizing economic topics as they seek to extend their dominance over statewide offices and the General Assembly.

Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young is seeking reelection by following a front-runner strategy of mostly ignoring Democratic challenger Thomas McDermott ahead of their only televised debate, scheduled for Sunday.

Democrats, meanwhile, are targeting the Indiana secretary of state’s race, in which former Mike Pence aide Diego Morales won the Republican nomination despite twice leaving jobs in that office after being written up for poor job performance.

Here is a look at top races on Indiana ballots:

U.S. SENATE

Young entered the campaign with huge fundraising and organization advantages over McDermott, who has been the mayor of Hammond since 2004 but is little known outside northwestern Indiana.

Indiana’s Senate race hasn’t seen the tens of millions in outside spending that it attracted four years ago when Republican Mike Braun defeated Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly and in 2016 when Young won the Senate seat over former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

Young avoided a primary challenge this year despite not fully embracing Donald Trump’s presidency—and not getting a Trump endorsement. Young voted to acquit Trump in his Senate impeachment trial but voted to uphold President Joe Biden’s election win.

McDermott, a lawyer and U.S. Navy veteran, has tried to build an appeal to working-class voters attracted to Trump while advocating congressional protection of abortion rights and federal marijuana legalization.

The lack of national groups spending money in the race when Democrats and Republicans are fiercely fighting for control of the current 50-50 Senate makes it difficult to see Young as vulnerable, although the abortion issue is a wildcard, said Paul Helmke, the former Republican mayor of Fort Wayne and the party’s 1998 U.S. Senate candidate.

“It might be something that gives a little new spark to Democrats in the state,” said Helmke, now an Indiana University public affairs professor. “But whether that’s enough to overcome the strong Republican mindset is hard to tell.”

SECRETARY OF STATE

Morales won the Republican nomination to become Indiana’s top elections office after talking up a push for tighter state voting restrictions and calling the 2020 presidential election a “scam” while pointing to unfounded claims Trump and his allies have made about other states.

Democrats criticize Morales as an “election denier” and see a chance to defeat him by pointing to him leaving low-level secretary of state office jobs in 2009 and 2011 after job performance write-ups.

Morales returned to state government as an aide on Pence’s gubernatorial staff until Pence left to become Trump’s vice president in 2017.

Democratic candidate Destiny Wells, an attorney and Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, says Morales is “sowing seeds of fear and doubt” about elections and that the secretary of state should focus on improving Indiana’s troubles with low voter turnout. Libertarian Jeff Maurer, who is also on the ballot, is advocating improved statewide paper versions of all ballots and independent audits of vote tallies in all counties.

U.S. HOUSE SEATS

Republicans are making their first serious challenge in several decades for the northwestern Indiana congressional district that has long been a Democratic stronghold.

Black U.S. Air Force veteran Jennifer-Ruth Green is challenging Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan, who won his first term in 2020 in the 1st District that hugs Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Democrats have typically won there by large margins, but Trump closed the gap by appealing to working class voters in the district that has some of the country’s largest steel mills.

Green, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Indiana Air National Guard, touted herself as a Trump supporter during the Republican primary campaign. Democrats have focused much of their criticism on her opposition to abortion rights.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Democrats are trying to pick up enough state legislative seats to break the Republican supermajorities that have left Democrats largely powerless against conservative proposals such as the abortion ban that’s been blocked by a court order. Democrats need to gain five seats in the 100-member House to break the two-thirds supermajority that allows Republicans to act even if no Democrats are present.

New district maps taking effect with this election protect most current Republican lawmakers, but Democrats are targeting some Republican-held seats in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis and in the South Bend and Fort Wayne areas.

State Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl said the abortion ban is an example of “government overreach” stemming from the decade-long Republican legislative supermajority.

“I think that really crystallizes things for people,” Schmuhl said. “That something so personal, that really should be between a woman, her family, her faith, her doctor, have Republican politicians kind of step in front of those folks and say, ‘Oh, no, we’re going to make those decisions for you.’”

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20 thoughts on “Indiana Democrats push abortion issue as early voting starts

    1. Sorry, buddy, this isn’t about murdering babies, it’s about healthcare and women’s autonomy over their own bodies. I have two close family members who would be dead now if this new law was active a year ago b/c of Doctors’ inability to make split second, life-saving decisions that need to be made but won’t be b/c they’re afraid of liability and jail. The Republican party I’ve belonged to for many years has way over-stepped and I have a young daughter to consider. They have lost my vote!

    2. Baloney, Jennifer C; pure, unadulterated baloney. Healthcare is murdering innocents? Eh? How does that compute? Autonomy over their own bodies? The only manner in which they don’t have that autonomy is if they are raped…and if a pregnancy results from that rape, Indiana law permits the innocent to be aborted.

      Unless you are willing to provide the needed details of the two instances you cite, we have no reason to believe this new law would have prevented doctors from doing what was necessary to save the women’s lives. After all, Indiana’s new law makes provision for such life-threatening instances, although it’s best to scare people into believing otherwise, isn’t it?

      And knock off “The Republican Party to which I’ve belonged for years” BS; if you’re willing to sacrifice the lives of future generations, not to mention the mental health of women who have had abortions, you haven’t been a Republican for a long time. When did the Republican Party, either today’s or the one which you allude to fondly remembering, ever endorse killing innocents in the womb? Never that I know of.

      What a sick, disingenuous post.

    3. Don’t pretend you actually care about children. Republicans only care about babies when they’re in the womb. As soon as they’re born, they and their mothers are on their own. It’s not about the children; it’s about control.

    1. We have a winner for the worst comment in the thread. Apparently Doug believes that if you repeat a lie enough times and refuse to admit reality, your lie becomes the truth.

      Or he just does drive by bomb throwing commenting and never comes back to see the references in the law that make it a felony.

    2. I agree with you on this Joe. The Indiana law is too strict, and if the IN constitution permitted referenda I think it would come out more pro-choice than Kansas did.

      I guess time will tell if it sours enough independents to turn the tides in the state. It probably won’t, and you know it. But it would certainly behoove the Indiana Democratic party (which may or may not be invisible) to provide a reasonable alternative that aligns with the state’s moral median. Will they do this, or will they counter with a proposal to take a lump-of-cells when halfway out the birth canal at nine months and then use a vacuum to suck the cerebral matter from the head-shaped end of this lump of cells? Given that the number of Democrats proposing this “abortion up to birth” Final Solution is growing, not shrinking, including other purplish states like Virginia and Arizona, it’s not clear yet if Indiana Dems have positioned themselves strategically.

    3. Looks like you’re taking a page from Doug’s book.

      Indiana Democrats did propose their alternative. It was not, in fact, what you claim it to be. It was an abortion ban after 20, and then 15, weeks. Both proposals were defeated 33-13. Amendments #35 and #36 to SB1. And, yes, this has also been mentioned before.

      Are there abortion extremists somewhere? Sure. But in the state of Indiana, Democrats were fine with a 15 week ban.

      So I guess you can keep trotting that “abortion on the way to the hospital to give birth” straw man out if it makes you feel better, but it doesn’t have much of a grasp in reality. Best I’ve been able to gather, the vast majority of late term abortions are due to medical necessity, on mom’s who wanted a baby to begin with. Why the Indiana Legislature thinks they know better than moms and doctors is beyond me. Then again, most of these bozos probably also think you can transplant an ectopic pregnancy and everything will be just hunky dory.

      The choices are simple – vote Republican for more of today’s stringent standards. Vote Democratic if you find them too extreme. Only removal of Republicans will allow for any sort of “moral median” like you profess to want. I mean, Republicans know what people want. They are refusing to give it to them. They have the poll showing their voters want first trimester abortion … and they have it locked up like it’s top secret classified material for a reason.

      http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2022ss1/bills/senate/1

  1. DEMS: “wait I’m trying to keep up; Trump, trump, Trump. January 6, January 6, Abortion, abortion, abortion. pay no attention to gas prices, grocery prices, your savings, Our unstable angry President.” this was a party founded in the belief in a Creator that now mocks anyone who dares talk public about God or morality.
    Tulsi Gabbard is just the beginning of the exodus

    1. The Republican Party would rather have Tusli Gabbard instead of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

      Sad.

    2. I’m glad the GOP isn’t quick to anger, but I guess if you’re going to be violent, you may as well be seditious and disrupt the peaceful transition of power? I mean, build a gallows and start chanting that the vice president must be hung.

      Just don’t understand why folks like you want America to be “democracies” like Hungary or Russia. You have no interest in stopping billionaires. You think Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis are different, that they care about their supporters?

      You’re just supporting folks who want their own turn at the trough, folks who are willing to tell you the lies you want to hear so they can have their turn. Of course, it takes a special class of sleaze to do that, so keep supporting that party of Kari Lake, Diego Morales, Herschel Walker, and Dr. Oz. Because, obviously, such fine candidates are what America needs in elected office.

    3. If Ron DeSantis doesn’t care about his supporters and yet he still has leagues of them–just like trump–then what does that say about such a judgment other than: “These people are too stupid to know what’s best for them?”

      Tulsi Gabbard pointed out the noxious elitism that plagues the neo-con wing of the GOP (of which Cheney is a figurehead) and basically 98% of the Democratic party. They see themselves as a coterie of aristocrats who elevate themselves about their subjects…not their constituents. Kanye did the same thing. You don’t have to be middle class yourself to understand it. Kanye isn’t. Nor, of course, is #45. You just have to recognize that they have a right to a political voice.

      Uncle Fester in Pennsylvania is just as blue blooded as the med-celeb. He’s an archetype of the rich kid who loves socialism and never really grow up (the two go hand-in-hand) but he at least looks like a plebeian so he can fake people. A sad choice for Pennsylvania’s given that Oz is likely to be a feckless Romney clone. But at least he doesn’t treat the 1st Amendment as a political hurtle like the Fetterwoman.

      If you hate working class people because they like NASCAR and don’t read MacSweeney’s, that’s your right. But to claim the moral high ground because you find their tastes “sleazy” and that they shouldn’t have equal participation in the electoral process….well, let’s just say that’s the same way white southerners felt about a minority group in the 1950/60s who were socially, culturally, and intellectually beneath them. They felt it so strongly that they were willing to rig elections through poll taxes and literacy tests to keep them from voting. Wanna guess which political party encouraged these white southerners to do their thing? While the other party wrung hands, went tsk-tsk, but did nothing…just like the Neo Cons today?

      Looking outside the US, has it ever occurred to you that Viktor Orban might be popular because he sticks it to the globalistic oligarchs in the EU, which, to many of Hungary’s citizens (and Poland’s and Czechia’s and Slovenia’s and Slovakia’s etc etc etc), reminds them far too much of the lean times under Iron Curtain Communism? What did you think the message of the Yellow Vest protest in France was supposed to mean–a bunch of bratty suburbanites who just didn’t feel like paying as much for gas?

      Let me guess: the new leader in Italy is “Mussolini adjacent”. Do you ever question the legacy media narrative even for a nanosecond? Your outrage toward political violence is as selective as ever. Kathy Griffin and a severed head? Threats to bomb Mount Rushmore? Breaching the fence at the White House? Breaking into the Hart Senate building during the Kavanaugh hearings? A ballpark shooting of Republicans? Basically any night in any big West Coast city? The entire summer of 2020?

    4. It’s all so predictable. All of your problems are the fault of someone else. I too hate someone else, I alone can fix the problem, so vote for me. And people are so angry, they gladly sign up for giving away their rights to their “savior”.

      So I wouldn’t say they’re foolish. I just don’t think they’re thinking it through, or thinking of the historical parallels. Because it always, every single time, ends up poorly. I don’t know who actually said “History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes”, but it was accurate.

      Look at Russia. Lots of folks frustrated at the poor state of affairs 20 or so years ago. Putin comes in proclaiming how great he will make Russia again. I’m sure he did help them in some way. But now, all the sudden, lots of men wondering why the heck they have to go to the Ukraine to fight with some old weapon that Stalin might have used, under leadership that can’t win at tic tac toe if you spotted them the first two moves, when they don’t really care one bit about the war in the first place. They were just here for the winning, bud it’s hard to enjoy all that winning when you’re six feet under and your wife and kids are missing you.

      Selective on the violence? Well, in defense of thinking January 6th was the worst thing ever, it was the first and hopefully last time in America that the guy who lost an election encouraged his supporters to come armed to stop the peaceful transition of power, and they actually broke into the Capitol to do so. It’s definitely a step up from the Brooks Brothers riot, that’s for sure, if you’re looking for something else to whatabout.

      Political violence? Bad. Political violence with pre-planned outcome of changing a fairly held, legitimate election by the loser? Next level bad. And, yes, it would be just as bad if it was done by Obama or Biden or Jimmy Carter or George F. Washington.

  2. Oops, I was unclear when I said “Kanye did the same thing.”

    Kanye recognized and condemned the elitism that has infested the party to which he once held allegiance, as recently as “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. The plantation owner analogy is almost cliche at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s illegitimate. The elites–which can be of any race or religion, even if the handlers in the entertainment industry overwhelmingly belong to a single one–are eager to keep anyone and everyone from ascending the ladder. Probably explains why the US state most committed to “redistribution” and “leveling the playing field” actually has a Gini index closer to Brazil, while conservative Utah and North Dakota are actually much more egalitarian.

    Returning to the original topic, I remain pro-choice. Safe, legal, AND RARE. I support litigation that delays the Indiana decision for something hopefully a little less rigid. I also recognize that we got to this point because of Dems’ terrible arguments: women-are-the-real-victims and the anti-science “fetus is not a baby” reasoning, and the SCOTUS made the right decision to disempower themselves and return the decision to legislatures where the average person has more of a say.

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