by Steven Ertelt
March 11, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are still upset with Democrat leaders who have coalesced behind two candidates for the U.S. Senate who oppose abortion. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has recruited Pennsylvania state Treasurer Bob Casey and Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin to run in Senate races in those states.
Not only have top Democrats recruited candidates who oppose abortion, they’ve attempted to clear the field and persuade other Democrats from declaring their candidacies.
In Pennsylvania, pro-abortion Governor Ed Rendell successfully talked abortion advocate Barbara Hafer out of challenging Casey in a primary. That’s after officials at EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion political group, sent two staff members to begin organizing Hafer’s campaign.
In Rhode Island, Democratic officials have unsuccessfully tried to persuade pro-abortion Secretary of State Matt Brown to exit the race.
This has leading abortion advocates fuming.
"It is a problem when leading Democrats publicly recruit candidates who do not share the core values of the party," former NARAL president Kate Michaelman told MSNBC. "I don’t think you ever win in the long term by sacrificing core principles. The right wing has never done that."
Equating pro-life advocates with racists, Michaelman asked, "Can you imagine recruiting people to run for the Senate with a record of opposition to affirmative action or to Brown v. Board of Education?"
Pro-abortion New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who heads the DSCC, told MSNBC that it is "looking for the strongest candidate in each state."
"Gov. Rendell suggested to us that Bob Casey would be the strongest candidate," Schumer explained. "This is not a positioning on [abortion] one way or the other. It’s about winning."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) told MSNBC that the reason for supporting Casey is that polls show him ahead of pro-life champion Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican.
Asked whether that had to do with Casey’s pro-life position, Reid demurred. "I don’t know what the reason is."
To respond to the developments, abortion advocates are rallying around other possible entrants.
In Rhode Island, Brown is already receiving financial support from pro-abortion groups and a group of Hollywood Democrats recently held a fundraiser on his behalf. The winner of the primary will take on pro-abortion Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, a Republican.
In Pennsylvania, abortion advocates hope Chris Heinz to enter the race. He is the son of Republican Sen. John Heinz and his stepfather is former presidential candidate John Kerry.
In Langevin and Casey are elected, they would join a small list of pro-life Democrats in the Senate. Only Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has a consistent pro-life voting record.
Nelson said new pro-life Democrats in the Senate would be a welcome change.
"It’s been my strategy for a long time, as a pro-life Democrat and as a member of Democrats for Life," Nelson said of his goal of recruiting more pro-life candidates. "So I would welcome others who feel similarly."
Recruiting Casey may have more to do with the need for national Democratic leaders to make amends over denying his father, former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, a chance to speak at two Democrat Party conventions nominating abortion advocate Bill Clinton for president.
Casey said Wednesday his father "would be very encouraged by the fact that the party is more embracing of a broader point of view, on a number of fronts, including abortion. That’s one of the messages he wanted to deliver."