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Matt Cartwright, and Andrea Salinas.
Matt Cartwright, and Andrea Salinas. AP; USA Today Network

Abortion, crime top issues in campaign ads so far in October

For the first time, crime beat out inflation as the second most oft-mentioned topic in House, Senate and gubernatorial campaign ads.


In the first two weeks of October, abortion and crime were at the forefront of topics featured in campaign ads, an NBC News analysis of ads tracked by AdImpact found.

20% of the 714 new, unique House, Senate and gubernatorial ads from October 1 through October 14 mentioned abortion and 17%, or 121, mentioned crime.

For the first time, crime has been the second most oft-mentioned topic in campaign ads, beating out inflation, which has been among the top two issues for months.

Abortion ads largely remained similar to those that have aired in the past few months, with Democrats usually supporting abortion and calling out their Republican opponents for opposing access to the procedure.

Meanwhile, crime has surged as a focus of Republican ads, with national conservative groups like the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) focusing on crime.

One ad funded by the NRCC in Pennsylvania's 8th District hammers Rep. Matt Cartwright on crime.

"The radical left will destroy America. They surrendered the border, they bowed down to the defund the police movement, and Matt Cartwright is for it all," a narrator in the ad says.

In a Nevada ad, SLF attacked Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, with a narrator in one ad saying, "Catherine Cortez Masto. She chose felons over Nevada families."

Some Democrats are trying to overcome GOP messaging on crime by highlighting their own ties to law enforcement.

In one recent ad, Andrea Salinas, the Democratic nominee for Oregon's 6th District, highlighted her father's career in law enforcement.

"Andrea Salinas knows what we’re facing these days. She’s the daughter of a cop," two people in the ad say.

Two others add, "Andrea is working to bring down the high cost of living, deliver tens of millions to help law enforcement fight violent crime and has a plan to tackle the homelessness crisis."

In another Democratic ad, also in Oregon, Jamie McLeod-Skinner featured a former police chief to tout her commitment to law enforcement and attack her opponent, Republican Lori Chaves-DeRemer.

"Jamie's opponent, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, has some troubling ideas about law and order. She defended the actions of the January 6 rioters, even after police were attacked and injured," the former chief in the ad says.

Following crime, inflation was the third most oft-mentioned topic in campaign ads for the first half of October, with 94 new ads mentioning inflation.