EXCLUSIVE: A two-term female GOP lawmaker is downplaying the idea that abortion and former President Donald Trump will hurt turnout for Republicans in next year’s race for Congress and the White House.
The 2022 election saw Republicans gain back valuable ground with suburban women after losing both Congress and the White House in 2020. But some surveys show that a predicted ‘red wave’ was staved off in part because of a backlash to the Supreme Court’s decision to roll back federal abortion protections in Roe v. Wade.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Winning For Women PAC fundraiser, a group dedicated to getting more Republican women elected to Congress, Rep. Ashley Hinson told Fox News Digital that the media had overblown how significant the issue of abortion actually was in the 2022 election. She cited her own race in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District last year.
‘I faced that challenge in my last election … they spent over a million dollars attacking me on that issue, and I won by more. And I think what happened is they chose that as their only issue,’ said Hinson, R-Iowa. ‘Voters are not focused on that as the only issue.’
Hinson flipped a set held by a Democrat in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District in 2020, beating then-Rep. Abby Finkenauer by just less than three points. Due to redistricting, she ran for reelection in the nearby 2nd and won by double digits.
‘Most people are saying, ‘I just need to get to work, pick up my kids and focus on my kitchen table issues,’ and that’s what I talked about. That doesn’t mean I’m not pro-life, that I don’t care about that issue, but it means I’m also going to listen to my constituents about what they’re actually talking about around the kitchen tables,’ Hinson said.
‘The media here in D.C. and the activist groups love to talk about that all the time. But if you actually talk to Iowans about what they’re focused on, it’s not that,’ she said.
On Trump, the legislator suggested that swing voters like suburban women would still vote Republicans into Congress because they’re fed up with President Joe Biden’s policies. She noted that several key Biden administration provisions, including policies on solar panels and Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, have received votes of disapproval on Capitol Hill.
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‘I think that when you look at the contrast, no matter who our Republican nominee is going to be, it’s going to drive turnout for Republicans because Joe Biden is so bad at his job. Whether it’s the border, the economy, disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and international policy, trade policy that’s failing our country – the list of failures goes on and on and on,’ Hinson said.
‘And that’s why you’re seeing Congress, both in the House and the Senate, pass CRAs that are a direct check on his administration and their failures,’ she said, referring to the Congressional Review Act that allows Congress to overturn executive branch regulations. ‘So, I think that’s the case we’re making to the American people, no matter who’s our presidential nominee.’
She said the GOP could keep recovering the ground it lost in the suburbs by sticking to ‘kitchen table issues’ and expanding its tent of nominees.
That approach appeared to be successful this week. The Winning for Women’s DC fundraiser on Tuesday evening, which was also attended by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, brought in more than $800,000 to support its endorsed candidates’ campaigns for 2024.
‘I think what’s really important about the work that Winning for Women has done is they are finding candidates like me and like the women you saw here tonight who are stepping up to run and can speak to those issues in their districts,’ Hinson said.
‘People talk about all the time, the candidates who flipped seats in 2020: women, minorities and veterans,’ she said. ‘So, that’s what our country wants to see here in Congress – is people who are like them who can speak to their issues.’