Abortion is larger issue in Michigan ahead of mid-term election

State Sen. Tom Barrett removed pro-life views from campaign website
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s a trend political experts are seeing nationwide ahead of the mid-term election many Republicans trying to downplay their position on abortion.

That includes state Sen. Tom Barrett, who’s running for Congress. He took down any mention of his pro-life stance over the weekend. Barrett’s website now criticizes Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s pro-choice position instead of focusing on his pro-life views.

“There’s been a fairly dramatic turn in both people’s opinion about abortion laws and in their overall preferences,” said Matt Grossmann, Michigan State University political scientist.

Abortion is the front of many people’s minds since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Grossmann said while Republicans might be thrilled with the ruling, it could have political consequences.

“There’s been a fairly dramatic short-term towards the pro-choice side,” said Grossmann.

He said that’s why you see many Republicans, including Barrett downplay his views.

Monday morning Barrett’s website didn’t include any mention of abortion or being pro-life, but that changed by Monday afternoon.

“We always see a pivot to the general election where you’re going to be facing new voters so you need to change what you emphasize and how you talk about things,” said Grossmann.

An AARP poll released last week shows abortion is one of the top issues women voters across Michigan are considering when they vote for Congress. Slotkin told News 10 she’s noticed the issue coming up more on the campaign trail.

“It’s never been something that we hear people talking about at the door,” said Slotkin.

Grossman said it’s important to keep in mind there are still other issues people will vote on.

“Even if there are pro-life voters who can be motivated by the pro-life side. It doesn’t mean that is the best issue for republican candidates to be talking about. They want to be talking about inflation, talking about problems with the Biden administration,” said Grossmann.

News 10 asked Barrett if he’d answer questions about the change. He said there wasn’t a need for an interview and he updates his website often.

Abortion will be an even bigger issue if a proposed constitutional amendment, guaranteeing the right to abortion gets on the ballot.

The Board of State Canvassers is expected to decide on Wednesday.


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