Pro-Life Winner of "American Candidate" Show to Run for Congress

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

Pro-Life Winner of "American Candidate" Show to Run for Congress Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 9, 2005

Camden, SC ( — Candidates made famous by television sometimes run for elected office in the real world and Park Gillespie hopes to be the next success story. Gillespie, who won a national election on the Showtime reality television program "American Candidate" last year is planning a run for Congress in South Carolina.

"This is a conservative district, and we need conservative leadership," Gillespie told a crowd at the Kershaw County Courthouse during a campaign swing through South Carolina’s 5th Congressional district.

In his stump speech, Gillespie said he opposed abortion — a position he strongly advocated during his 15 minutes of fame on television. And it’s attracting voters.

Robin Ruff of Camden tells the Morning News she is solidly behind Gillespie in part because "he is pro-life. I like what he stands for."

Gillespie, a 38 year-old Christian school teacher overcame long odds and defeated two pro-abortion candidates in the final rounds of the program to take home a $200,000 price and a chance to give a 10-minute long acceptance speech on national television.

"It’s a privilege to speak on behalf of life and the values we believe in," Gillespie told at the time.

Gillespie made his pro-life views loud and clear both during the campaign and in his acceptance speech. During the speech, Gillespie decried the "oligarchy" of the courts that has made abortion legal.

"For the last 30 years – from the legalization of abortion to the push to redefine marriage – government has too often worked against families," Gillespie said. "The chief offender? The courts."

In one of the final debates, a moderator asked Gillespie the old cliche question meant to trip up pro-life candidates — whether he would allow one of his daughters to have an abortion if she were raped.

The pro-life "presidential candidate" hit a home run with his answer.

"I do not believe that two wrongs make a right. So, a child created in that situation, as tragic as that is, I’m not going to compound it by having two tragedies. I would counsel my daughter: Let this baby come to term," Gillespie explained.

In his bid for the Republican nomination for the seat, Gillespie faces state Rep. Ralph Norman, who made his bid official last month. The winner of the primary would go on to face pro-abortion Rep. John Spratt, a Democrat, in the November 2006 elections.

Spratt has held the seat since 1982 and rarely faced a close election.