The Lead

Dem group encouraged by election results so far: ‘What a miscalculation to underestimate women voters’

By: - November 9, 2022 11:54 am

An estimated 5,000 people attended the Pennsylvania March for Life to advocate for restricting abortion on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 (Capital-Star photo).

With results still coming in from the 2022 general election, one Democratic group says it is encouraged by what it saw on election night. 

A’shanti F. Gholar, president of Emerge, a group that trains and recruits Democratic women to run for public office, said on a call with reporters Wednesday that “Democrats still had a good night” in what was initially projected to be a “red wave” for Republican candidates. 

Gholar said that many Democratic candidates successfully made the case to voters that reproductive rights and economic concerns are linked. 

“Abortion is an economic issue,” Gholar said. 

When a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked in May, Gholar said it “mobilized” women who wanted to run for office and those who wanted to help candidates championing reproductive rights. 

Despite concerns that the issue had faded from voters’ minds, Gholar said there was never any question that it would be a top issue. 

“We knew that it was going to be an issue in the midterms,” Gholar told the Capital-Star. “Women took it personally, as they should.”

ABC News exit polls show that while inflation was the top concern for voters nationally, in Pennsylvania and Michigan abortion was top-of-mind. 

“What a miscalculation to underestimate women voters,” Gholar said. “Voters did not take these issues for granted.” 

California, Vermont, and Michigan, all voted Tuesday to enshrine the right to abortion care into their state constitutions. In Kentucky, voters defeated a referendum that would have amended the state constitution to say that there is no right to abortion. 

In Montana, where 80 percent of the vote is being reported, voters appear poised to reject a referendum that would “criminalize healthcare providers who do not make every effort to save the life of an infant “born during an attempted abortion”

When it comes to the results of abortion referenda that were on the ballot in a handful of states, Gholar said no one should be surprised by the results.

Kansas showed us that this was going to be a top issue for women and families and even some men that showed up,” Gholar said. “When you come for someone’s rights, there will be consequences.”

Ruwa Romman, a Georgia state representative-elect, told the Capital-Star that while she was on the campaign trail in her state, she heard from white men who said they “cannot vote” for GOP candidates because rights — such as voters’ rights and reproductive rights — “are being taken away” 

“I don’t think that’s something that polls have fully captured,” Gholar added. 

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Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller was the associate editor at the Capital-Star.