Pro-Life Democrat Gets Backing for Party Chair, Could Start Abortion Debate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrat Gets Backing for Party Chair, Could Start Abortion Debate Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 14, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A former Indiana congressman who takes a pro-life position on abortion is being touted by the top Democrats in the House and Senate as the best pick to become the next chairman of the national Democratic Party.

The surprising move by Senate Democratic chief Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to endorse Tim Roemer is sure to bring forth concerns from leading abortion advocacy groups about how the party handles the controversial issue.

Roemer, a former member of the commission that investigated the September 11th terrorist attacks, released a written statement Tuesday regarding speculation he is a potential candidate for the party’s top post.

"I have been approached very recently by several prominent Democrats inquiring about my interest in seeking the post of DNC chair," he said, according to a CNN report.

"While I am flattered by their confidence in me, I have made no formal decision to seek the post," Roemer explained. "I am, however, consulting with my family, friends and Democrats around the country to assess this potential opportunity, and expect to make a decision very soon."

In the statement, the former South Bend-area congressman, acknowledged that the incoming chairman would have the power to help "shape the future organization, message and direction of the party."

Serving in Congress from 1990 to 2002, Roemer compiled a strong pro-life voting record during his tenure.

According to statistics from the National Right to Life Committee, Roemer voted pro-life 95 percent of the time from 1997-2002. He agreed with the pro-life group on 52 of 55 votes it scored during that time period, disagreeing only on votes the group tallied related to campaign finance reform.

Current chairman Terry McAuliffe, who favor abortion and used the issue to bash President Bush during the 2004 presidential election, is leaving his position in February.

So far, at least eight potential candidates have been named as top contenders and are lobbying for the job. Others include former presidential candidate Howard Dean and former Clinton aide Harold Ickes, both of whom back abortion.

However, with the support of Reid and Pelosi, Roemer has a significant advantage over many of the other candidates.

The incoming chairman will be expected to lead the party along with the two Congressional leaders until a presidential nominee is chosen in early 2008.

Congressional sources told CNN News that the fact Roemer is from a generally Republican state and that he served on the 9/11 commission were to key factors in Reid supporting him.

Some 450 members of the Democratic National Committee board will vote on the new chairman.