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How the issue of abortion could shape the race for Arizona governor

Arizona is currently waiting on a decision from a Pima County judge on whether a 158-year-old law that bans nearly all abortion will be the law of the land.

Any day now an Arizona judge will decide whether a 158-year-old abortion ban will become law again in the state. 

That law passed when Arizona was still a territory and only has one exception: to protect the life of the mother.

The state is currently waiting on a decision from a Pima County judge on whether that law will be the law of the land.

Political analysts find that issue could be a deciding factor for voters in the upcoming November election. 

"With women, it's clearly, it seems to be this reproductive rights issue," Chuck Coughlin, president and CEO of HighGround Inc. said. 

Coughlin is a public affairs consultant in Phoenix, and has run Republican campaigns in Arizona, but said he's unaffiliated with any party now. 

RELATED: Arizona judge weighs state's request to enforce abortion ban

It's policies related to abortion access that Coughlin said are motivating women voters.

"We have seen in polling data that we've done in Arizona and we've seen it across the nation, is women are very deeply disturbed about that issue and seem to be abandoning the Republican party in pretty large numbers," Coughlin said. 

RELATED: Arizona candidates for governor take questions separately on stage ahead of November election

Two women are currently vying to be Arizona's next governor and have differing opinions on the right to abortion.

Republican Candidate Kari Lake has said in the past she supports the 100-year-old ban on abortion. 

On Tuesday, Lake said she would not ban procedures in the case of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, which is commonly called a D&C. 

“I would never keep D&C procedure from a woman having an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage," Lake said. 

RELATED: Once McCain's party, Arizona GOP returns to far-right roots

Current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is the democratic nominee, said Monday that if she was elected governor, she'd expand reproductive rights. 

“I’ll do everything in my power to protect access to safe, legal abortion starting with using my veto pen to stop any legislation that compromises our right," Hobbs said. 

RELATED: Katie Hobbs all but rules out participating in televised gubernatorial debate with Kari Lake

While the issue of abortion could motivate women voters. Independents, Coughlin said typically play the biggest role. 

"Unaffiliated voters tend to determine the outcome of statewide elections," Coughlin said. 

Coughlin points out that abortion is not the only factor at play. 

The border is an issue important to Republican voters and some independent voters, Coughlin said. 

RELATED: US migration from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua soars in August

While education, especially with the spending cap currently hanging over the budgets of Arizona schools, Coughlin believes will be important to Democrats and some independents. 

However, Coughlin said he believes it's the water issue that's affecting all voters, adding people are wanting to know what candidates plan to do to address the water crisis in Arizona. 

RELATED: Colorado River levels decline, concerns around water access in Arizona grow

Beyond the issues, Coughlin said the campaigns themselves matter too, especially in tight races. 

"These are going to really come down to the candidate and the campaign and how well the candidate executes on a campaign and how well their messaging is and how well they're focused," Coughlin said. 

Coughlin said he'd normally expect to see campaigns most organized and focused by the time early voting comes around. This cycle, early voting starts in three weeks on Oct. 12. But focusing on a specific message the campaigns are projecting to voters, Coughlin said, is a challenge for both campaigns for governor. 

"I'm not seeing that," Coughlin said. 

Decision 2022

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