Florida Senate Candidate Lets Abortion Advocates Run Campaign

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Senate Candidate Lets Abortion Advocates Run Campaign

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 28, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida candidate for the U.S. Senate has turned to veterans of the abortion lobby to help shore up her campaign.

Betty Castor has replaced her campaign management team with a new group of consultants associated with the pro-abortion political fundraising group known as EMILY’s List.

Florida media are crediting the personnel change with helping Castor to raise more than one million dollars since the beginning of the year. That means that Castor is raising money twice as fast as she did last year, when it took her six months to raise a million.

One of Castor’s former campaign consultants, Linda Hennessee, is speaking out about the influence of EMILY’s List on the Castor campaign.

“I had substantial differences with EMILY’s List,” Hennessee told the Palm Beach Post. “At the Senate level they make an enormous investment so they are more hands-on, more demanding of control.”

Meanwhile, Castor’s former campaign manager, Jeff Garcia, told the newspaper that EMILY’s List was guilty of a “power grab.” Still, Garcia claims he is in constant contact with Castor and left the campaign, in part, because of family concerns.

EMILY’s List, which began in 1985, supports only those Democratic women who support legal abortion. Candidates must also support some of the most unpopular aspects of pro-abortion policy: permitting partial-birth abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion.

The political group is considered to be a fundraising powerhouse with more than 73,000 active members and donors.

Still, its track record for winning elections in recent years has not been impressive. While an endorsement by EMILY’s List tends to attract a great deal of media attention, that attention does not necessarily translate into votes.

An alternative group, the Susan B. Anthony List, helps to train and raise money for female candidates who are pro-life. The group also supports pro-life male candidates who are facing pro-abortion female opponents, usually backed by EMILY’s List.

EMILY’s List became one of the first groups in the country to bundle campaign contributions, meaning it encourages members to send contributions to the campaigns that the organization favors.

EMILY is an acronym which stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast. The group’s founder hoped to make a point that the amount of money in campaign coffers could rise considerably, if early dollars were secured.

A spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, Karen White, told the Palm Beach Post, “The bottom line is that our role in a campaign is money. In addition to that we also advise and consult.”

Still, despite the involvement of EMILY’s List in the campaign, Castor is expected to lag behind her two Democratic opponents in fundraising. Castor’s opponents include U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch of Lauderhill and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, both abortion backers.

Castor’s new campaign manager, Deborah Reed, shepherded Chellie Pingree’s unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002. Pingree lost to Maine Republican Susan Collins.

Castor’s new communications consultant, Doug Hattaway, was communications director for Democrat Al Gore during his failed campaign for the Presidency in 2000.

Castor is Florida’s former Education Commissioner and the ex-president of the University of South Florida.

She is seeking the seat now held by outgoing pro-abortion Democrat Bob Graham, who failed to capture the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Florida Senate race is considered one of the key Senate contests in the nation, and could help to determine whether the Republicans will be able to hold onto their majority in the Senate.

Republicans vying for the Florida seat include former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez; former Rep. Bill McCollum; former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, who is now a Florida realtor; lawyer Larry Klayman; state House Speaker Johnnie Bird; and former state House Speaker Daniel Webster.

All of the Republican candidates are pro-life.

Related web sites:
Susan B. Anthony List – https://www.sba-list.org