Campaigns & Elections

Democrats focus on abortion in NY-3 ad

A super PAC helping Democrats win back the House is out with its first ad in the Long Island special election.

Mazi Melesa Pilip is the target of a new Democratic super PAC ad.

Mazi Melesa Pilip is the target of a new Democratic super PAC ad. Screengrab, HouseMajorityPAC

In their first ad in the special election for the 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, the Democratic House Majority PAC is homing in on abortion rights in the first battleground House race in New York.

After criticizing Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip for her general avoidance of the press since launching her campaign, the ad pivots to the question of abortion. “Pilip’s running on a party platform that calls for a ban on abortion,” a voiceover narration says. The ad then features an interview clip in which Pilip calls herself pro-life – however, she has said in multiple interviews she would not personally support a national abortion ban if elected. 

The ad also seeks to tie Pilip to legislation that would ban abortion from the moment of conception with no exceptions for rape or incest, saying her “backers” support the bill. No members of Congress from New York co-sponsor the legislation, but House Speaker Mike Johnson – who has endorsed Pilip – is a co-sponsor.

Pilip will face off against Democrat Tom Suozzi, a former member of Congress trying to win back his seat, on Feb. 13.

The ad, paid for by a Democratic super PAC aimed at helping Democrats win back the House majority, offers a preview of the line of attack that Democrats may take in November. It premiered one day after the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when Democrats reiterated their commitment to protecting abortion rights both in New York and nationally. The party also launched a $20 million campaign last year focused on educating voters about a ballot referendum that would enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution. Party leaders are hopeful that having abortion literally on the ballot in 2024 will help drive voters, as it did in other parts of the country in 2022. 

But the strategy is still a gamble that didn’t pay off in the midterms, when underperformance by Democrats in New York cost the party control of the House.