Arizona Pro-Life Legislator to Challenge Pro-Abortion Republican Congressman

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Pro-Life Legislator to Challenge Pro-Abortion Republican Congressman

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
March 31, 2004

Phoenix, AZ ( — The majority whip in the Arizona state House, Rep. Randy Graf (R-Green Valley), has announced he will run against pro-abortion U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) in the Republican primary in September.

In 2002, Arizona Right to Life endorsed Rep. Graf during his re-election campaign for the state House. Kolbe, on the other hand, has been considered a very pro-abortion legislator by pro-life groups.

"Jim Kolbe voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion and against a ban on human cloning,” Carol Tobias, political director of National Right to Life told “Kolbe also voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would recognize as a legal victim an unborn child who is injured or killed during commission of a federal crime against the baby’s mother.

“All these bills have broad public support so it will be interesting to watch Jim Kolbe try to say that he represents his constituents, and therefore should be re-elected," added Tobias.

"Some folks have asked me not to do this," said Rep. Graf, noting that his decision to leave the high-ranking post in the state House is surprising many. “Voters in the district deserve a choice."

Rep. Graf disagrees with Rep. Kolbe on number of issues, including an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages and abortion.

"From the standpoint of the traditional Republican Party platform, I fall much more in line," Graf said. "I’ve been in the Legislature for four years and have been very consistent on my stance on these relatively large, important issues.”

Rep. Kolbe says he supports a woman’s right to choose but opposes late-term abortions, although he did vote against the partial-birth abortion ban.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, Kolbe only has a 10% pro-life voting record during the current session of Congress. He cast votes against the pro-life position on human cloning, tax-funded abortions, partial-birth abortion, and the unborn victims bill.

A spokesperson for Arizona Right to Life said that according to Rep. Graf’s response to their survey, he was worthy of endorsement in his re-election campaign in 2002.

Rep. Kolbe has already declared his intent to run for an 11th term in a recent statement.

"I am proud of my record of cutting taxes for hardworking Americans, securing millions of dollars for our border to increase patrols, fighting the war on terrorism and providing affordable prescription drugs to seniors," he said.