In Washington, a Battle of the Extremes

From a story on by Madison Fernandez headlined “A battle of the extremes”:

In recent months, Democrats have owned the messaging on “too extreme” stances being pushed by Republican opponents — hitting topics like policies restricting abortion access and beliefs that the 2020 election was rigged. But Republicans are starting to claim that “too extreme” storyline as their own.

Democrats and Democratic groups have spent more than $3 million on ads calling Republican opponents “extreme” over the last month, compared to around $1 million from Republicans, according to AdImpact. A CNN poll from last month found that 55 percent of voters view Republicans as too extreme on abortion. Heading into the general election, it seems that Republicans are redirecting that view to their opponents.

Last week, Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters released a digital ad about his abortion policies — calling them “common-sense” compared to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s “extreme abortion policies.”

Masters has previously stated that he supports a “federal personhood law … that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed.” Kelly and the Senate Majority PAC have seized on Masters’ stance over recent months, calling him “dangerous for Arizona” and “too extreme.”

But Masters flips the script in his ad: “Mark Kelly votes for the most extreme abortion laws in the world,” he says. “We’re talking no limits up until birth. Think about how crazy that is. That’s more extreme than Western Europe. That’s way more extreme than what Arizonans want.”

Kelly earlier this year voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have prevented states from banning abortions or putting in place requirements or restrictions that affect abortion access. It failed in the Senate. The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, put out a $1 million ad buy in March hitting Kelly as an “abortion extremist.”

Washington Republican Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley released an ad last week with the same sentiment. “Patty Murray has spent millions to paint me as an extremist,” she says in the ad. Earlier this month, Murray’s campaign put out an ad highlighting Smiley’s “pro-life” stance. “I’m pro-life, but I oppose a federal abortion ban,” Smiley continues.

What’s extreme? Thirty years in the Senate and nothing to show for it. Patty Murray wants to scare you. I want to serve you,” she says.

And in Oregon, nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson is taking the “extreme” conversation to both of her general election opponents. “Tina Kotek and Christine Drazan, leading the two extremes driving Oregon apart,” a recent ad says. “Kotek passed a law to protect tent cities, sided with rioters over police and led the fight to legalize hard drugs like heroin and meth. Christine Drazan wants to make abortion illegal. … Both too extreme for Oregon.”

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