Missouri Democrat Nicole Galloway is headlining an event with abortion lobbyist and liberal megadonor NARAL, which opposes any restrictions on late-term abortion.
Galloway, who is running to unseat Missouri governor Mike Parson (R.), is set to toast to abortion at a virtual brunch scheduled for Sunday. The event will see Galloway speak alongside Planned Parenthood of St. Louis chief medical officer Colleen McNicholas and includes a complimentary cocktail delivered to the doors of all attendees.
NARAL endorsed the Missouri Democrat on Wednesday, calling her a "reproductive freedom champion." While the support of far-left abortion groups will likely benefit Galloway's campaign coffers—NARAL has spent more than $14.5 million directly backing Democrats since 2000—it could alienate voters in the Show Me State. A March 2019 poll commissioned by Susan B. Anthony List showed that 82 percent of Missouri voters oppose late-term abortion, including 66 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of independents.
The event sparked criticism from some party activists, who contrasted Galloway's embrace of radical abortion with the success of Democrat John Bel Edwards, who was elected governor in conservative Louisiana by embracing pro-life views. Democrats for Life of America executive director Kristen Day admonished Galloway for her participation in the event, arguing that NARAL's extreme views on abortion are out of touch with Missouri voters.
"We are disturbed that Nicole Galloway is headlining an event for NARAL, an organization whose mission is to violate human rights. If she makes abortion a focus of her campaign, she'll lose," Day told the Washington Free Beacon. "All polling shows that Missouri is a pro-life state. We encourage Ms. Galloway to embrace the position of pro-life Democrats in her party and make her approach to abortion more in line with the beliefs of her state."
Day also highlighted former Democratic state legislator Joan Barry's thwarted attempt to invite pro-life voters to the party. In 2018, Barry proposed adding language to the state party platform that recognized the "diversity of views" on abortion and welcomed "all Missourians who may hold different positions on this issue." The resolution initially passed but was "overturned by the Democratic State Committee, who were set on taking the party in an extreme pro-abortion direction," Day said.
Former Democratic Missouri senator Claire McCaskill initially called Barry to praise her for the resolution but remained silent when it was overturned. She went on to lose to Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) by more than 140,000 votes in November 2018.
Parson signed a bill in May 2019 limiting abortion in the state after eight weeks of pregnancy. Galloway, who currently serves as the state's auditor, condemned the legislation a month later in a speech pledging to "hold [Republicans] accountable." She went on to launch her gubernatorial bid in August 2019.
Susan B. Anthony List vice president Mallory Quigley contrasted Parson's record as a "longtime pro-life leader" with Galloway's support for "abortion on demand."
"It is no surprise NARAL endorsed Galloway, an abortion extremist. If elected, she would promote their radical agenda of abortion on demand, paid for by Missouri taxpayers," Quigley said. "Her support for abortion—even taxpayer-funded, late-term abortion, up until the moment of birth—is not only morally wrong, it is a political liability for her in a strong pro-life state like Missouri. Missourians deserve a governor who shares their pro-life values."
While Galloway is the likely Democratic nominee for Missouri governor, she will have to defeat four challengers in the state's August primary before facing Parson in November. She has consistently trailed the Republican in polling of the race, including a May 28 We Ask America survey showing Galloway with 39 percent support to Parson's 47 percent.
Parson also boasts a strong financial advantage. His campaign holds $1.4 million on hand to Galloway's $1 million, and the Parson-aligned Uniting Missouri PAC has an additional $5.1 million on hand. Keep Government Accountable, a PAC supporting Galloway, held just $940,000 on hand as of April 15.
Galloway did not respond to a request for comment.
Update 6/11/2020, 3:05 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from Susan B. Anthony List.