Republican Speaker Hastert to Step Down, Pro-Life Candidates Will Run

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Speaker Hastert to Step Down, Pro-Life Candidates Will Run Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 8
, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Following a devastating loss in the mid-term Congressional elections that saw abortion advocates take over control of the House, Speaker Dennis Hastert announced on Wednesday that he would step down as the head of the Republican Party in the chamber. Three pro-life congressmen indicated they will make a bid for the leadership post.

"Obviously I wish my party had won," Hastert said in a statement and added that he would focus on his work representing his constituents.

Democrats will take control of Congress in January and Republicans will lose the speakership and have just a Minority Leader and Whip as their top two leadership posts.

Hastert, a pro-life Illinois Republican, indicated he will not run for the Minority Leader spot.

With the vacancy, Republicans will have a competitive contest to replace him.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the current Majority Leader, and Reps Mike Pence of Indiana and Joe Barton of Texas have indicated they will likely seek the GOP leadership position.

Pence, in a statement made available to LifeNews.com, cemented his plans. He said he had sent out a letter to fellow Republicans seeking their help and guidance in a leadership campaign.

"I am running for Republican leader because we didn’t just lose our majority, I believe we lost our way," Pence said.

He said the Republican Party didn’t lose Tuesday’s elections because Americans changed their mind on key values such as opposing abortion. He said the party needed to do more to advance its long-standing positions.

"Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people didn’t quit on the Contract with America, we did," Pence explained. "And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust
between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters."

Meanwhile, pro-life Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri indicated he would seek re-election to his Whip position, which will become the number two party leadership post next year.

Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a pro-abortion California representative, is expected to become the Speaker of the House in January. Her party’s takeover also means abortion advocates will control key committees that oversee abortion, abstinence and stem cell research.