Though one Florida Senator has already signed onto U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s push for a ban on abortion past the 15th week of pregnancy, another isn’t as quick on the draw.
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Rick Scott was cagey when answering the question about whether he backed the South Carolina Republican’s bill Wednesday during an interview on Fox News’ America Reports. His answer suggested a federal abortion ban push was not in sync with messaging in play in Senate General Election campaigns.
“Well, if you go around the country, what people are focused on is the economy, their kids’ education, public safety,” Scott said, before suggesting the abortion issue is mobilizing the opposition party more than Republicans in the wake of the Supreme Court Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade this year.
“With regard to abortion, the Democrats are clearly focused on abortion,” Scott added, before being interrupted by co-host John Roberts, who said the issue was driving Democratic gains, especially among women in the suburbs.
Scott countered, saying current strategy was working for his NRSC candidates and would prevail if “we stay on our message.”
“Let’s go through the polls,” Scott said. “Ron Johnson’s winning. Herschel Walker’s winning. Ted Budd’s winning. Adam Laxalt is tied. We’re barely down in a variety of states. We’re down by 1 in Colorado, 3 points in Washington, 2 to 4 points in Arizona. We are actually heading in the right direction.”
“Look at the polls, we keep getting better week after week,” Scott added.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, whose re-election campaign against Democrat Val Demings is among the most high-profile Senate races in the country, signed on already as the co-sponsor for the Graham bill, as culture war issues will animate the stretch run of that race.
Florida has a 15-week abortion ban with no exceptions for instances of rape or incest. Graham’s bill does allow limited, situational exceptions, requiring that rapes be reported quickly, and limiting abortions due to incest to mothers who are minors.
Democrats decried Rubio’s co-sponsorship of the bill, but Scott’s undefined position suggests Senate candidates will not be encouraged to run en masse in support of the legislation, as appealing to swing voters becomes the focus ahead of November.
Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics contributed to this report.