As Florida Republicans advance a more extreme abortion ban today at Ron DeSantis’ urging, a new report from POLITICO out this morning is full of quotes from Republicans across the country who are worried that DeSantis’ agenda is too extreme for the rest of the country.
As the Florida governor cast out to early nominating states in recent days, even some of his supporters could see a problem brewing for him back home. Lawmakers in his home state are advancing controversial bills on gender and diversity policy — base-pleasing issues for Republicans, but a potential liability in a general election. And on one cultural issue that did hurt Republicans in the midterm elections — abortion — DeSantis is going even further to the right, preparing to sign a bill banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape and incest if victims offer proof of a crime.
“Wow,” said Amy Tarkanian, a former chair of the Republican Party in Nevada, where DeSantis traveled over the weekend. “A lot of people don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks. I’m pro-life, but that’s pretty extreme.”
“In a way, the Republican dominance of the Florida Legislature may end up hurting DeSantis because his proposals can become reality,” said Barrett Marson, a Republican strategist in Arizona. “That may help him in a primary in Iowa or Texas or South Dakota, but in a general election in Arizona, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, it could be ruinous for him.”
But even Republicans acknowledge it will likely come at a cost, after Democrats successfully used abortion as a cudgel against their party in the midterm elections, following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. “If you’re running for president, you ain’t got no choice,” said Jason Roe, a former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party and adviser to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “On the abortion issue, if you don’t go as far right as the oxygen will allow you to go, it’s a vulnerability in a Republican primary. That’s just life.”