Top Senate Races Feature Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Contrasts; Big Implications

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 21, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Top Senate Races Feature Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Contrasts; Big Implications

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 21
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — While the national focus is on the presidential race and its stark contrasts on abortion, voters across the nation will also head to the polls to select members of the U.S. Senate. The races also feature abortion contrasts and big implications as they will confirm any Supreme Court appointments.

Minnesota has one of the marquee races with pro-life Sen. Norm Coleman facing competition from pro-abortion comedian Al Franken.

Coleman, the former Democratic mayor of St. Paul, is well-known across the state and favored to hold his seat, but leads Franklin by just one-two percent in recent surveys.

Pro-life advocates are very concerned about the New Hampshire senate race, because pro-abortion former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen is challenging pro-life Sen. John Sununu in a rematch of their 2002 open seat contest and polls show her with a 9-11 percentage point lead as the state has been trending Democrat in recent years.

The state of New Mexico presents another concern for pro-life advocates.

Sen. Pete Domenici announced in October 2007 that he would not seek re-election and pro-life Rep. Steve Pearce is running to replace him but he trails pro-abortion Democratic Rep. Tom Udall by double digits.

Colorado features a clear contrast between pro-life Republican Rep. Bob Schaffer and pro-abortion Democratic Rep. Mark Udall in a race to replace Sen. Wayne Allard, who is pro-life.

Like the vote in the presidential contest, the race for the Senate will be close but Udall appears to have a 6-8 percentage point advantage over the last month.

Pro-life advocates are also trying to hold on to the North Carolina seat of Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who faces a tough challenge from pro-abortion Sen. Kay Hagan, who easily won the May 6 primary. Dole currently holds a 6-8 percentage point lead and is expected to hold onto the seat but the race could become close as pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama is competing hard there.

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who is pro-abortion but has a mixed voting record on pro-life issues, faces a challenge from pro-life State Treasurer John Kennedy. Republicans see Kennedy as one of the hopes for a pickup but the most recent poll shows him trailing by 17 percent.

The state of Oregon has a close senate race with incumbent pro-life Sen. Gordon Smith seeing a challenge from State House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who is pro-abortion. Smith has been leading throughout the election but the last two polls showed him with just a one point lead.

Kentucky’s race features pro-life Sen. Mitch McConnell who faces former gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford. McConnell is a long-time pro-life champion who the pro-life movement has turned to for leadership on key issues. McConnell has had double digit leads throughout the campaign.

Virginia could have been one of the top races in the country but former Gov. Mark Warner, who is pro-abortion, has waltzed out to a comfortable double digit lead over former Gov. Jim Gilmore, who is officially pro-abortion but supports most pro-life legislation.

Mississippi has one of the few races in the nation featuring two pro-life candidates as Sen. Roger Wicker has former pro-life Gov. Ronnie Musgrove challenging him. This is the special election to fill the remaining four years of the retired Trent Lott’s Senate term. Wicker has a lead of anywhere from 5-10 percent.

In Alaska, Sen. Ted Stevens is running for re-election but he faces ethics issues related to a July indictment on seven felony counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.

Stevens has a generally pro-life voting record when it comes to abortion issues but has upset the pro-life community with his votes for embryonic stem cell research funding. He faces Anchorage mayor Mark Begich and polls show Begich has an advantage because of the ethics issues.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is pro-abortion, faces a challenge from pro-abortion Rep. Tom Allen and she is favored to keep her seat.

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