Elections Analysis Delivers Bad News For Arizona Republicans Following Landmark Abortion Ruling

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A nonpartisan elections analysis announced two rating changes on Wednesday that endanger Republicans for competitive races in the battleground state of Arizona following a ruling that imposed a near-total abortion ban.

The Arizona Supreme Court decided on April 9 that an 1864 law, which allows for abortion only when the life of the mother is at risk and makes performing or helping procure the procedure a crime, can take effect. The ruling, which has supercharged the issue of abortion in the swing state, prompted Sabato’s Crystal Ball to move the expected Senate matchup between Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and Republican Kari Lake to “Leans Democratic,” as well as shifting GOP Rep. Juan Ciscomani’s reelection bid to “Toss-Up.”

The race for independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat was previously in the “Toss-Up” category for 2024, and Ciscomani’s election, where he’ll likely face former Democratic state Sen. Kirsten Engel, had been “Leans Republican,” according to the analysis. (RELATED: Arizona Republicans Scramble To Counter Abortion Amendment Proposal)

Lake’s campaign told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that “Crystal Ball is notorious for calling races wrongly.”

“Liberal hacks in Virginia don’t decide the Senate race, Arizonans will. Just like President Trump, Kari Lake is performing strongly in Arizona and is going to win in November,” the campaign added.

An abortion ballot measure will also likely be on the ballot in the battleground state this November, as activists say they’ve gathered enough signatures for access, according to NBC News. Such an amendment would make it a “fundamental right” to have an abortion in Arizona up until “fetal viability,” which is roughly 24 weeks.

“While voters can and often do split their tickets on such ballot measures, we can’t imagine a major ballot fight over abortion rights would hurt Democratic turnout efforts in the state, and it very well could help,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, wrote.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) speaks to reporters outside of a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on September 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to have difficulty finding a legislative path that would prevent the federal government from partially shutting down at midnight on September 30 while also preserving his speakership. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 27: Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) speaks to reporters outside of a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The elections analysis cited fundraising discrepancies as another reason for the race changes, as both Gallego and Engel reported larger totals in the latest campaign finance reports.

Gallego‘s campaign brought in $7.5 million from Jan. 1 to March 31 compared to Lake‘s $3.6 million, with the Democrat reporting over $7 million more in cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. Arizona First, a pro-Lake super PAC, also reported raising $350,000 during the same time period and entered April at just over $363,000 in the bank.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP campaign arm backing Lake, took aim at Gallego in a statement to the DCNF reacting to the rating change. (RELATED: ‘ACT IMMEDIATELY’: Trump Pressures Arizona Legislature To ‘Remedy’ Abortion Law)

“Arizona has been and will continue to be a top target for Republicans this fall,” Tate Mitchell, spokesman for the NRSC, told the DCNF. “Far-left radical Ruben Gallego has been a loyal rubber stamp for the pro-criminal, open border policies that have been a disaster for the country. He’s completely out of step with everyday Arizonans.”

Engel raised $1.2 million during the first fundraising quarter, while Ciscomani reported $635,492, FEC data shows. However, Ciscomani ended the period with more cash on hand than Engel at $2.4 million compared to the Democrat’s $1.9 million.

“We are thrilled to see the momentum we’ve been feeling on the ground reflected in today’s race ratings change,” Alia Kapasi, Engel’s campaign manager, told the DCNF in a statement. “Arizonans will soon be living with the harsh realities of the ‘leave abortion to the states’ reasoning that Juan Ciscomani says he prescribes to – although his record of working to restrict access to abortion medication nationwide says otherwise. Women in Arizona are not going to stand by silently while their rights are stripped away, and they’ll be sure to show that at the ballot box this November.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democratic campaign arm endorsing Engel, told the DCNF in a statement that “Ciscomani’s days in Congress are numbered.”

“From getting out-fundraised by Kirsten Engel to facing the backlash of his cruel anti-abortion agenda, it’s clear that his campaign is a sinking ship fighting to stay afloat,” Lauryn Fanguen, spokesperson for the DCCC, told the DCNF in a statement.

A Bullfinch Group survey released Friday showed Gallego and Lake tied at 41%, while 10% chose a nameless independent candidate. Other recent polling for the Senate race has shown Gallego beating Lake anywhere from one to eight points, according to FiveThirtyEight’s compilation.

The Arizona Senate election is now alongside races in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Michigan for the “Leans Democratic” column, leaving only Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio in the Sabato’s Crystal Ball “Toss-Up” category. Ciscomani joins his colleague, GOP Rep. David Schweikert, in the “Toss-Up” category for House races.

The campaigns for Gallego and Ciscomani, as well as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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