Pennsylvania Abortion Advocate Plans Run Against Rick Santorum

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Abortion Advocate Plans Run Against Rick Santorum

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3, 2005

Harrisburg, PA ( — Abortion advocate Barbara Hafer, a Democrat, announced Wednesday that she will run against pro-life Senator Rick Santorum in 2006. Her announcement could set up a contentious primary against Bob Casey, the namesake son of the state’s former governor.

Hafer, the former State Treasurer, said that EMILY’s List, the pro-abortion political action committee that funneled $34 million to abortion advocates in 2004, has already sent her two staff members to begin organizing her campaign.

She told the Associated Press she plans to begin fundraising immediately.

"We’re in it," she said in a telephone interview. "I’m getting a campaign up and running."

Meanwhile, Casey, the current State Treasurer, is getting support from leading national Democrats to run. He’s already received fundraising help from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) and support from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

That support has leading pro-abortion Democrats upset.

Ramona Oliver, spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, 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."

Whether Casey will run is still up in the air.

"We are very close to a decision," Karen Walsh, a spokeswoman for Casey, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday. "It will definitely come this week."

He told DSCC leaders and Reid in February that he would only run if he had assurances of capturing the party’s nomination.

Casey’s candidacy is boosted by a mid-February poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showing him ahead of Santorum in a hypothetical matchup 46 to 41 percent. The poll found Hafer trailing 47 to 39 percent.

The poll also showed 40 percent of Pennsylvania Democrats opposing abortion.