In Michigan, Democrats took aim at the Republican nominee for governor almost immediately after the primary with a television ad highlighting her opposition to abortion, without exceptions for rape or incest.

In Georgia, Democrats recently attacked the Republican governor in another television ad, with women speaking fearfully about the specter of being investigated and “criminalized.”

And in Arizona, the Republican nominees for both Senate and governor were confronted almost instantly after their primaries with different ads calling them “dangerous” for their anti-abortion positions.

All across America, Democrats are using abortion as a powerful cudgel in their 2022 television campaigns, paying for an onslaught of ads in House, Senate and governor’s races that show how swiftly abortion politics have shifted since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June….

In the roughly 50 days since the Supreme Court’s ruling, Democrats have flooded the airwaves in many of the nation’s most closely watched contests, spending nearly eight times as much as Republicans have on ads talking about abortion — $31.9 million compared with $4.2 million, according to data from AdImpact, a media tracking firm. And in the closest Senate and governor’s contests, Republicans have spent virtually nothing countering the Democratic offensive.

By contrast, in the last midterms four years ago, Democrats spent less than $1 million on ads that mentioned abortion-related issues in the same time period.

They have spent more than $2 million on ads targeting Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, for his position on abortion; $1.6 million on ads against Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania; and $1.8 million on Adam Laxalt, the Republican Senate nominee in Nevada who recently wrote an op-ed defending his stance on the issue.

More abortion ads have aired in the Senate races in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Arizona and Washington — and even in Connecticut and Maryland, two states with secure Democratic incumbents….

For now, new abortion-focused Democratic advertisements are popping up seemingly almost every day, including in AlaskaIowa and Virginia.

Some abortion ads use the specific words and positions of Republican candidates against them. Some are narrated by women speaking in deeply raw and personal terms. Some use Republicans’ unyielding stances on abortion to cast them more broadly as extremists.

And some, like one early ad hitting Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, do all three. “Doug Mastriano scares me,” a woman declares at the beginning of the spot.

One particularly emotional spot came from Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, who used a montage of women to target Gov. Brian Kemp’s stance on abortion.

“He supports a total ban,” one woman says in the ad. “Even if I’m raped,” another says. More women continue, one after another: “A victim of incest. Forced pregnancy. Criminalized women. Women with jail time….”

Often, abortion is the Democrats’ opening gambit at the start of general election ad campaigns. Just this month, ads have targeted Tudor Dixon in the governor’s race in Michigan and Kari Lake in the governor’s race in Arizona. And a day after Minnesota’s primary for governor, Democrats began airing an ad calling Scott Jensen, the Republican nominee, “too extreme” on abortion.

The next major test of abortion’s political power comes in a special election on Aug. 23 in New York.

County Executive Pat Ryan in Ulster County, N.Y., the Democratic candidate in that race, has made abortion the focus of his campaign, even in a state where access remains protected. In a new ad this week, Mr. Ryan featured a carousel of national Republicans arguing that the party would pursue a nationwide ban.

A Democratic super PAC is spending $500,000 to promote Mr. Ryan, a veteran, with an abortion message. “He sure didn’t fight for our freedom abroad to see it taken away from women here at home,” the narrator says.

The election is being closely monitored as a barometer of the issue’s power. Democrats have overperformed — even in defeat — in two other special elections since Roe v. Wade was overturned, in Minnesota and Nebraska….

In Arizona, ads are hammering Blake Masters, the Republican Senate candidate, for calling abortion “demonic,” talking about punishing doctors who perform the procedure and opposing exceptions for rape and incest during the primary. In a post-primary interview with The Arizona Republic, Mr. Masters called the state’s 15-week ban “a reasonable solution” and expressed his desire to “reflect the will of Arizonans.”

On the airwaves, though, few Republicans have had an answer. One notable exception has come in the New Mexico governor’s race; Mark Ronchetti, the Republican nominee to take on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, has been under fire over his stance on abortion.

“I’m personally pro-life, but I believe we can all come together on a policy that reflects our shared values,” Mr. Ronchetti said in a campaign spot that detailed his position on the issue.

Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania attorney general and Democratic nominee for governor, opened his first ad of the general election by hitting Mr. Mastriano on abortion.

In an interview, Mr. Shapiro said voters were especially attuned to the issue because the state’s Republican-led Legislature had passed strict abortion limits that he would veto and that Mr. Mastriano would sign….

The above comes from an August 14 story on