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D.C. Memo: Democrats hope for campaign gold rush on abortion ruling

Democrats like Rep. Angie Craig hope to capitalize on the fear and anger many pro-choice Democrats feel, not only on the loss of constitutional rights to abortion and new threats to abortion rights in state legislatures and Congress.

Second District Rep. Angie Craig and other Democrats are highlighting the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in their fundraising efforts ... and it seems to be working.
Second District Rep. Angie Craig and other Democrats are highlighting the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in their fundraising efforts ... and it seems to be working.

WASHINGTON – In the hours after the Supreme Court release its decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats, especially those in tight races for governor and Congress like Rep. Angie Craig blasted out urgent fundraising appeals that seem to have struck a nerve with Democratic donors.

“My opponent Tyler Kistner calls himself ‘100% pro-life’ and will gladly support Republicans’ agenda to ban abortion if he wins,” Craig’s appeal said. “He refuses to defend access to abortion. That’s why it couldn’t be more important to keep MN-02 and the House blue at this critical moment in our nation’s history.”

Republicans like Kistner, who told MinnPost he is “pro-life,” but would support abortion if the life of a mother were in danger and in the cases of rape and incest, are now the foils in Democratic appeals that are filling email boxes and social media feeds.

Democrats like Craig hope to capitalize on the fear and anger many pro-choice Democrats feel, not only on the loss of constitutional rights to abortion and new threats to abortion rights in state legislatures and Congress, but also to the lock conservative judges now hold on the high court.

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“(As) GOP-led state legislatures pass more extreme anti-abortion laws and congressional Republicans push for a nationwide ban, it is clear that stripping away women’s right to control our own bodies is the Republican Party’s priority,” Craig’s fundraising email said.

Like other appeals, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s fundraising effort asked for as little as $10 “to win in November.”

“Our Republican opponents have pledged to ban abortion entirely if they win, making the governor’s office the last line of defense against an abortion ban in Minnesota,” Walz said.

And, in a text message on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent almost immediately after the court’s Roe decision, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked contributors to give $15 to “defeat every Republican for what they’ve done.”

A smaller group of Republicans are fundraising on the prospect that Democrats in Congress will seek to codify abortion rights – something that was tried last month but faltered in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-7th, who joined a GOP press conference to hail the Supreme Court on the day of its Roe decision, did not directly ask for campaign donations, but did put a button on an abortion-related campaign email that allowed supporters to request a yard sign. Those who wanted a yard sign were directed to a page with a “donate” button.

“While we should undoubtedly be celebrating today’s watershed moment, we must also be on guard for the vitriol and unpredictable retribution from the radical left,” Fischbach’s appeal said. “Left-wing politicians have already called for expanding the Supreme Court, impeaching Justice Kavanaugh, and getting rid of the filibuster in the United States Senate.”

High-profile events, such as the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, can lead to huge spikes in donations.

But it’s clear the abortion issue is prompting more Democrats than Republicans to write checks. After a draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion was leaked on May 3, DCCC fundraising pace picked up. Reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission showed the DCCC raised nearly $12 million in the month of May. Meanwhile, its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee headed by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-6th, raised only about $9 million that month. The fundraising gap is likely to broaden now that Roe’s overturn is official.

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In her fundraising email, Rep. Betty McCollum , D- 4th, reminded potential donors that she voted to codify Roe into law “and I will never stop fighting to protect abortion rights.”

“But I can’t do it alone. This is a moment for everyone to stand up and demand federal action so we can finally get this done,” McCollum said.

McCollum chief of staff and campaign adviser Bill Harper said the appeal raised nearly $10,000 in one day.

“(That) is a very good response for us, especially since every federal and state Democrat in Minnesota was sending out similar emails,” Harper said.

He also said younger pro-choice women may have taken to the streets in protest, but older, wealthier women were more likely to open their checkbooks.

“When we put out our appeal, we received maximum donations from women who had not donated to our campaign previously,” Harper said.

And now a fundraising appeal from MinnPost:

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Ketchup on the wall

Besides the aftershocks of the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade, Washington D.C. was shaken by the revelations of a surprise witness at a hastily arranged hearing of the special January 6 committee this week.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide for Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told lawmakers that former President Donald Trump, in a fit of desperation, tried to wrest control of a presidential SUV in an effort to reach the U.S. Capitol as a mob tried to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s win.

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Hutchinson also testified that Trump and members of his inner circle were warned about the potential for violence on Jan. 6, and that the president threw his lunch at the wall in the Oval Office dining room after learning that then-Attorney General  William Barr told the Associated Press in December 2020 there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Hutchinson said she and a White House valet cleaned ketchup from the wall.

Trump called Hutchinson a liar in a series of postings on Truth Social, a social media account his allies created after he was banned from Twitter following the Jan. 6 attack.

“Her Fake story … is ‘sick’ and fraudulent,” he wrote.

The Jan. 6 hearings were to be postponed this week and next while the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate are on and extended July 4 break. Hearings will continue when Congress returns to business. But there’s little evidence they are changing many minds in a country that is entrenched into partisan camps.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that, 64% respondents said the attack was planned rather than spontaneous. Democrats said 84% and independents said 61% that the attack was planned. Republican respondents were divided, with 49% saying it was planned and 46% saying it was spontaneous.

But Americans were split about whether or not they think Trump committed a crime with his efforts to change the results of the 2020 presidential election, with 46% saying he did commit a crime and 47% percent saying he did not commit a crime. The results are essentially unchanged from an April 6, 2022 Quinnipiac University poll, taken weeks before the first Jan. 6 hearing.

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Emmer has (partial) win on jail-health issue

Despite the political polarization, Rep. Tom Emmer had a bipartisan win on a bill he sponsored with a Maryland Democrat, Rep. David Trone.

Emmer, one of the most active House Republicans on mental health issues, had sponsored a bill that would allow those incarcerated in jails before their trials to remain on Medicaid. Currently, jailed inmates must transfer to whatever health program the institution that is holding them offers. That could be disruptive for those who are under treatment for mental health issues.

But just before the U.S. House adjourned for a two-week recess, it approved – as part of a larger mental health package – legislation that allowed juvenile detainees to continue receiving existing Medicaid-funded mental health care while awaiting trial. While that’s only a partial victory – adult inmates would still lose their Medicaid coverage under the legislation – Emmer said the bill “will help our local law enforcement better manage the shockingly high percentage of inmates who suffer from mental illness.”

“Pretrial detainees are, by definition, presumed innocent,” he said in a speech on the U.S. Houses floor. “As a matter of due process, we should not be denying critical health benefits to anyone who has not been convicted of a crime.”

Approved on a 402-20 vote, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act would expand and modify programs, grants, and activities that focus on mental and behavioral health.

Among other thing, the bill would also expands access to opioid and other substance use treatment by eliminating a provision that generally requires individuals to be addicted to opioids for at least a year before being admitted to an opioid treatment program.

With its approval of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, the House also advanced another measure sponsored by Emmer and Trone. It would create an office in the Department of Health and Human Services that would streamline behavioral health crisis intervention.