Retirement of Four Top Pro-Life Senators Complicates 2010 Election Season
by Steven Ertelt
January 13, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The pro-life movement is already behind the eight ball when it comes to the 2010 elections by not having control of the White House or either branch of Congress. Over the last few weeks, they’ve been given more bad news in the form of four pro-life senators who will not seek re-election.
Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich is the latest to indicate he will not run again — opening up a Senate seat in a politically competitive state that may have otherwise been safe.
Voinovich put together a 100 percent pro-life voting record on abortion and bioethics issues, including opposing a resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade.
Fortunately, pro-life former Rep. Rob Portman, who served as U.S. trade representative and White House budget director under President Bush, is expected to seek Voinovich’s seat and may issue an announcement to that effect as early as tomorrow.
Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida has also indicated he will not run for re-election, costing the pro-life community a key pro-life Hispanic and one from another very competitive state.
Martinez also compiled a strong pro-life record and had been very active in state and local pro-life efforts before heading to Washington.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who is pro-life, has announced he will not run for Martinez’ seat, but other Republicans probably will. They include pro-life Attorney General Bill McCollum, former House speakers Allan Bense and Marco Rubio, Rep. Connie Mack and pro-life Rep. Vern Buchanan.
On the pro-abortion side, Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek announced today he will run for the seat. Others considering a run include state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, pro-abortion Rep. Allen Boyd and state Sen. Dan Gelber.
In Kansas, Sam Brownback, the former presidential candidate and key pro-life leader in the Senate, will also not run for re-election. Instead, Brownback plans to run for governor to replace pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
The pair could trade places as Sebelius is expected to seek Brownback’s seat and pro-life advocates will need a strong candidate to take her on and win.
Finally, just last week, longtime pro-life Missouri Sen. Kit Bond announced his retirement, setting off another very competitive contest.
Missouri Congressman Lacy Clay, who is pro-abortion, is said to be a top candidate to replace Bond as is pro-abortion Robin Carnahan.
Potential Republicans interested in running for the seat include Congressman Roy Blunt, former Congressman Kenny Hulshof, former Sen. Jim Talent, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman. They are all pro-life.
In all, Republicans must defend 15 incumbents in addition to the four open seats next year, and that number could grow if and when Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas announces her 2010 gubernatorial bid.
Meanwhile, Democrats have to defend 15 incumbents and two seats where special elections are expected — in Delaware for Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s seat and in New York if Sen. Hillary Clinton is confirmed as the next secretary of state.
While the Republican seats present opportunities for abortion advocates, few Democrats currently appear vulnerable to being replaced with pro-life senators. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a pro-abortion Democrat whose approval numbers are slumping in Nevada is perhaps the top prospect on the pro-life side.
Pro-life advocates are also hoping to pick up one of Colorado’s Senate seats, recently vacated by Obama’s Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, appointed Denver School Superintendent Michael Bennet, but he is a political novice and could face a tough bid to keep the seat.
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