Democrats target Pence in Iowa as part of broader push on abortion messaging

·2 min read

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Democratic National Committee is attempting to capitalize on former Vice President Mike Pence’s swing through the Iowa State Fair Friday, releasing a new digital ad as part of its broader effort to boost turnout among women voters ahead of the midterms.

The brief spot calls Pence “Too extreme for Iowans” and blends in clips of Pence’s recent comments opposing abortion at campaign-style events.

“We can count on Mike Pence to make his plan to ban abortion in every state the new litmus test for Republicans — and we’ll be here to hold them accountable every single day,” Democratic Party spokesman Ammar Moussa said in a statement to Yahoo News.

Former Vice President Mike Pence
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaking in Manchester, N.H., on Wednesday. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Democrats are targeting the spot to Iowa women ages 18-65 on Facebook and YouTube as part of a larger effort to drive up voter turnout in the 2022 midterm elections, and they’re hoping the spot will help shore up vulnerable incumbent Rep. Cindy Axne. The Democrat is facing a strong challenge from Republican Zach Nunn, who Pence will be campaigning for during his most recent Iowa swing.

Former President Donald Trump, who remains the de facto frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024, privately bemoaned the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Mississippi, despite having appointed three of the high court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who remains the strongest challenger to Trump at the moment — no Republican with a national profile has formally announced for 2024 — has taken a relatively cautious approach on the issue as he faces a reelection battle in November.

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa
Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, at a news conference in June. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images)

Pence, on the other hand, has leaned into the issue since the Supreme Court’s decision in June, as he attempts to corral support on the right ahead of a possible 2024 bid.

“As we gather tonight we must recognize we have only come to the end of the beginning,” Pence said last month in a campaign-style stop at the Florence Baptist Church in South Carolina, where he was applauded by some 1,400 evangelical Christians.

A July poll from the Des Moines Register and Mediacom found abortion trailing behind inflation and gas prices as a top issue driving voters' choices at the ballot box.

Thumbnail credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images