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Reproductive Rights News, Part II: A Big Win for Marilyn Lands in Alabama

Yesterday, we wrote about the special election for the open seat representing HD-10 in the Alabama state House. Recall that the district is swingy, and that the Democratic candidate, Marilyn Lands, lost election by 7 points back in 2022. This time, she ran a campaign that was all-in on reproductive freedom and, in particular, on access to IVF.

We proposed, in that item, that the election could give another data point speaking to the efficacy of reproductive freedom as cudgel for the Democrats to yield. That said, we were a little leery when we wrote that. As we have written countless times, special elections are wonky and can produce odd results (see: Brown, Senator Scott). Further, the seat was open because the Republican who had been occupying it (David Cole) turned out to be a crook. Such behavior often generates a backlash at the next election (see: "Santos, George"). So, if Lands had improved on her 2022 result by, say, 5 points, could we really draw any meaningful conclusions from that?

It turns out we need not have worried about trying to write our way out of that jam. Lands won the election... by a staggering 26 points. It was 63% of the vote for her, and 37% for her Republican opponent, Teddy Powell. And remember, this is a swingy district, won by Donald Trump by 2 points in 2020.

There is no dismissing a result like that, when a candidate sees a net swing of 34 points. Maybe Powell was not a great candidate, but he certainly wasn't 34 points worse than the crook he was trying to replace. Maybe there was anger about Cole's crookedness, but it wasn't 34 points worth of anger. Maybe the special election attracted a wonky electorate; if so, then it just tells us that protecting reproductive rights is something that gets people to the polls.

It is extremely unusual in politics for the data to be this clear, but with this particular issue, it keeps happening over and over: reproductive rights are a big winner for Democrats, even in red/reddish states and districts. (Z)

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