by Steven Ertelt
November 14, 2005
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Tennessee Right to Life normally doesn’t get involved in contested primaries between pro-life candidates for elected office. But worrying a battle between two pro-life candidates in the race to replace Bill Frist in the Senate could tilt it to an abortion advocate, the pro-life group sided with Ed Bryant.
Bryant, a Republican congressman, received the origination’s endorsement Tuesday over another pro-life Congressman, Van Hilleary. Both mean are trying to counter a fundraising lead by former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker.
Tennessee Right to Life President Brian Harris says Bryant has accumulated a 100% pro-life voting record in Congress.
Calling the early endorsement "unprecedented" in the history of the organization, Harris said that the endorsement is a response to the "broad support being demonstrated at every level of the grassroots organization."
"We have a responsibility to impact the political process on behalf of the unborn," said Harris. "Allowing other interests and issue groups to determine the Republican nominee is unacceptable and our supporters are committed to doing all we can to affect the outcome of this critical election."
"Right to Life supporters know that Ed Bryant is ‘one of us’ and his demonstrated commitments both publicly and privately means a great deal to our members," Harris explained.
Responding to the endorsement, Bryant told reporters in a telephone conference, "What that means to me is that the conservatives are beginning to coalesce behind one conservative candidate."
Jennifer Coxe, a spokeswoman for Hilleary’s campaign, said he would continue to woo pro-life voters.
"Van Hilleary has a 100 percent pro-life voting record," she said. "He cares very deeply about the issue."
Vanderbilt political scientist Bruce Oppenheimer told the Associated Press the endorsement could play a significant factor in tilting the election to Bryant because of the strength of the pro-life movement in Tennessee.
"Clearly it has a bigger effect in the primary than the general election," he said. "Voters all of the same party need other cues of who to vote for."
Corker claims to be pro-life now but has previously said he didn’t think abortion was an issue that belonged in government.