Vega handed Spanberger a rare opening when she was caught on tape casting doubt on the idea that women can get pregnant from rape. The spot warns that Vega once said only God can decide the life of the mother.
“Yesli Vega cheered the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade,” a narrator says in the ad, adding: “Yesli Vega is too extreme for Virginia.”
Spanberger was first elected in 2018 when she ousted Republican Rep. Dave Brat from his central Virginia seat. Redistricting left her in a seat that President Joe Biden would have carried by 6 points and she is considered one of the more endangered Democrats.
The initial buy, backed by nearly $560,000, will run from Friday to Sept. 5 on broadcast and cable in the Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Va. markets. The incumbent has a staggering $4.9 million in her war chest as of July. Vega had less than $250,000.
Spanberger joins a handful of vulnerable Democratic women who have aired TV ads on abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and erased the constitutional right to an abortion. Reps. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), Susie Lee (D-Nev.) and Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) have all messaged on the issue, as have a slew of candidates.
Lee went on air almost immediately after the Dobbs ruling with an abortion rights-focused buy. But it wasn’t immediately clear how many Democrats would use paid advertising to stress their commitment to abortion access. Voters in Kansas declined to roll back abortion rights in a referendum earlier this month, in another powerful sign that moderates and independents did not agree with the ruling. Ryan’s triumph in New York only boosted that signal.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has painted it as an issue that can juice up Democratic base voters and persuade moderates, especially after the special election on Tuesday. Ryan leaned heavily into abortion rights and beat Republican Marc Molinaro by 2 points in a district that backed Biden narrowly in 2020.
“We see this as a powerful issue in swing districts, not the only issue — People still care a lot about the economy and inflation,” said DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney. “But the abortion issue has changed the equation. There’s no doubt about it. And we’re seeing the impact more every day.”