While most Democrats have stood firm with the White House against a ban on incoming flights from Ebola-affected countries, the ones that are running in races this November are changing their tunes.
Wendy Davis, Kay Hagan and Michelle Nunn all announced their support for a travel ban to fight Ebola. Davis, who’s far behind in the race for Texas Governor, is the latest to call for a ban.
“With two Texans already infected by this terrible disease, we must do everything we can as a state and as a nation to ensure it remains contained and that families stay safe,” Davis said in a statement Friday. “A commonsense step that should be on the table includes a temporary travel ban for non-U.S. citizens from countries with high infection rates.”
Davis was joined by two Democratic nominees in tight Senate races as well. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, running for reelection in North Carolina, and Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee in Georgia’s race, both called for travel bans on Friday as well.
“I support a temporary travel ban with the exceptions of our medical and military personnel in those affected areas in West Africa,” Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee facing David Purdue in Georgia’s Senate race, told The Washington Post. “I believe that we need to look to our medical practitioners, leaders and scientists and make sure we’re giving them the resources.”
Hagan, who’s already taken criticism from her Republican opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, for failing to call for a travel ban, was even stronger in her support.
“Although stopping the spread of this virus overseas will require a large, coordinated effort with the international community, a temporary travel ban is a prudent step the President can take to protect the American people, and I believe he should do so immediately,” Hagan said in a statement Friday.
On Wednesday, Tillis said that it was “astonishing that Sen. Hagan has refused to call for a travel ban, instead waiting for direction from President Obama at the same time more Americans are being put at risk.”
The rash of Democrats newly open to a travel ban comes the day after President Obama addressed the nation on the growing number of Ebola cases, in which he insisted that his opposition to a travel ban was “not philosophical,” but grounded in experts’ recommendations that it would be less effective. (RELATED: Obama Retreats On Ebola Travel Ban)
Before President Obama’s statements Thursday evening, House Democrats were largely opposed to a travel ban in a House Energy and Commerce hearing with Centers for Disease Control director Tom Frieden. According to The Hill, just eight House Democrats and, including Hagan, two Senate Democrats have come out in favor of pausing travel from countries battling Ebola outbreaks.