GOP governors who signed abortion restrictions cruise to reelection


Ron DeSantis
Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis gestures as he debates. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, Pool)

GOP governors who signed abortion restrictions cruise to reelection

Several Republican governors who implemented abortion restrictions cruised to reelection on Tuesday despite abortion rights faring well in ballot measures across the country.

Govs. Ron DeSantis in Florida, Mike DeWine in Ohio, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Greg Abbott in Texas, and Kristi Noem in South Dakota, all of whom signed legislation to restrict access to abortion, easily won their gubernatorial races, suggesting that preserving abortion rights was not a top concern for voters.

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The midterm elections were some of the first statewide referendums on abortion rights following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June. Ballot measure results out of California, Michigan, Vermont, Kentucky, and Montana indicated people favored abortion rights when voting on them, but the issue may have taken a backseat in marquee races to others, such as the economy and tackling inflation.

Florida appeared to be a particular Republican stronghold on Tuesday, with DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — also staunchly anti-abortion — both beating their Democratic opponents by double digits, including in the historically left-leaning Miami-Dade County.

DeSantis, who is poised as a favorite to challenge former President Donald Trump in a 2024 bid for the Republican nomination, has signed several pieces of legislation restricting access to abortion, including one earlier this year prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks. Rubio also co-sponsored a bill in September that aims to institute a national 15-week abortion ban.

In Ohio, DeWine was reelected to a second term. His Democratic opponent Nan Whaley had hoped to make abortion rights a focal point in the race, drawing attention to the case of a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim who traveled out of state to receive an abortion. DeWine previously signed legislation to prohibit abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically at about six weeks of pregnancy.

Kemp won against Democrat Stacey Abrams in Georgia. During his first term, he signed a restrictive abortion law in 2019 that prohibited access to the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

In Texas and South Dakota, which both have laws banning abortions in most circumstances, Abbott and Noem beat their opponents by wide margins.

Even in states where voters favored abortion rights in statewide measures, several candidates opposing abortion prevailed. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who describes himself as “100% pro-life,” comfortably won reelection in Kentucky, despite voters easily rejecting a proposal that would have amended the state constitution to specify that it does not “secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

Prominent anti-abortion organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America suggested that GOP gubernatorial and congressional wins can be tied to candidates that have taken concise positions on abortion, while Republican candidates that did not take a strong stance on the issue did not fare so well.


“So the strongest message, I believe, that we should take away from here is how our candidates, our pro-life candidates, should be positioning themselves rooted in principle,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a media call Wednesday.

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