by Steven Ertelt
May 3, 2006
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — The old adage, The more things change the more they stay the same, applies to the Oregon Republican primary for governor. Once again abortion is a dominating issue, Oregon Right to Life is a key player in determining who will win, and candidate Kevin Mannix enjoys the group’s support. But this time around, a few things are different.
Mannix, a longtime Republican lawmaker and state GOP leader, is touting Oregon Right to Life’s primary election endorsement in ads and interviews on Christian radio.
The group’s support enabled Mannix to defeat two better-funded candidates in the 2002 Republican primary who supported abortion. He’s relying on the endorsement to carry him to the nomination again.
He has radio commercials and mailings to voters targeting the issue of abortion and his campaign is making thousands of automated phone calls featuring ORTL executive director Gayle Atteberry praising him.
"If you look at the Republican primary, I don’t think there’s a more important endorsement," said Jack Kane, Mannix’s chief political strategist, told the Portland Oregonian newspaper. "It’s very difficult to win a primary without it."
But this year, some things are different.
Ron Saxton, a pro-abortion candidate Mannix defeated in 2002, is outspending his opponent and trying to make inroads with ORTL and pro-life voters.
Saxton still supports abortion, but he has promised to sign pro-life legislation that ORTL has been working diligently to pass — including a ban on partial-birth abortions, and a waiting period and parental notification for teenagers wanting an abortion.
Saxton has also reached out to the pro-life group and met with the group’s leadership to tell them how he will support their initiatives. Last time around, Saxton wouldn’t complete the group’s questionnaire.
"We had a wonderful (political action committee) board meeting with him," Atteberry told the Oregonian. "He assured us he would sign many pieces of our legislation if they reach his desk."
Still, Atteberry said her group backed Mannix for his longtime pro-life views and because he has a better chance to win in the fall than a third candidate, pro-life state Sen. Jason Atkinson.
That decision angered Atkinson, who bashed Oregon Right to Life and said the group has abandoned its principles.
Related web sites:
Oregon Right to Life – https://www.ortl.org