by Steven Ertelt
February 8, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocacy groups are upset that the campaign committee for Senate Democrats is recruiting two candidates for 2006 Senate races who oppose abortion. The pro-abortion groups say the Senate campaign committee is trying to clear the field so the two would-be candidates face no primary opposition.
Though they have yet to officially announce Senate bids, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is actively pursuing pro-life Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey and Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island.
Casey, namesake son of the late governor, a pro-life champion, is being recruited to run against pro-life stalwart Rick Santorum, a Republican who led the fight against partial-birth abortions.
Langevin is being touted as a top candidate to take on pro-abortion Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee. Though he has drawn criticism from pro-life groups for backing embryonic stem cell research, Langevin opposes abortion.
Ramona Oliver, spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, which poured millions into the 2004 elections, said she’s troubled by the DSCC’s efforts to clear the primary field.
Oliver told Roll Call newspaper, "I think the concern is that the DSCC has taken this extraordinary step and seems to be trying to clear the field when there are obviously [other] very strong candidates in both those races. We’re not even close to resolving where those races are going to go."
Abortion advocates are also upset because the Senate is a key battleground in the abortion battle and the fights there will intensify as Supreme Court nominees are sent there for confirmation.
Casey met DSCC chairman Charles Schumer and Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid last week and said he would run only if he was assured of the primary nod.
Meanwhile, the DSCC is holding fundraiser for Langevin later this month, on the heels of a poll showing him 20 points ahead of Chafee.
Schumer shrugged off the concerns and told Roll Call, "We’re a big tent party and they would agree."
Oliver says Schumer’s efforts in the two states contradict his comments at the annual NARAL dinner last month, where he said the Democratic Party should not compromise its pro-abortion stance.
“I think it is an extraordinary contrast to have sat and listened to Senator Schumer at the NARAL dinner … and then to see the actions of the DSCC under his leadership," Oliver told Roll Call.
Pablo Rodriguez, medical director of Rhode Island’s Planned Parenthood, said his group is prepared to support Chafee if Langevin is the nominee.