EMILY’s List, one of the nation’s leading pro-abortion political action committees, endorsed state Senator Suzanne Bonamici in the Oregon special election to fill the seat left vacant by disgraced pro-abortion Congressman David Wu. In late July, an 18-year old girl accused Wu of an unwanted sexual encounter and, while Wu claims the encounter was consensual, he resigned from office 13 days later.
Oregon’s 1st Congressional district is a heavily blue district, which under usual circumstances should be an easy hold for Democrats. However, after humiliating defeats in New York and Nevada special elections last week, Democrats are not taking any race for granted. In New York, pro-life Republican Bob Turner soared to victory, winning a district no Republican has held since the 1920’s. Turner’s upset sent shockwaves through the Democratic establishment, which now faces the prospect of having to defend districts previously thought to be Democratic strongholds.
There are key differences, however, between Oregon’s 1st district and New York’s 9th district. Replicating the New York win will be a tall order for Republicans. President Obama carried Oregon’s 1st district by a 25-point margin over McCain in 2008.
Meanwhile, he carried New York’s 9th district by only 11 points. While Oregon has yet to select its general election candidates, Democrats will be wary of nominating a lackluster candidate like David Weprin in New York. Weprin struggled to distinguish himself from President Obama, whose policies were widely unpopular even in liberal Queens and Brooklyn. The Weprin campaign was also haunted by several major media gaffes including the broadcast of a TV ad showing a plane flying over the Manhattan skyline just days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Turner was also propelled to victory in New York by influential endorsements by popular former NYC mayors Rudy Giuliani (R) and Ed Koch (D). Democrats currently hold all major statewide offices and no Republican has been elected governor since 1987. It appears unlikely any of the Oregon power players will cross party lines to endorse a Republican for the seat.
Currently, eight Democrats have filed to run in the November 8th primary including Bonamici and state Rep. Brad Witt. On the Republican side, five have filed including Wu’s 2010 opponent Rob Cornilles.
EMILY’s List’s endorsement is only granted to Democratic female candidates who meet their radical pro-abortion criteria including support for partial-birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion. Bonamici has received an enthusiastic recommendation from the organization, which described the race as “an exciting special election opportunity to add a pro-choice Democratic woman to the U.S. House right away.”
In contrast, Republican Rob Cornilles is pro-life. In 2010, he earned the endorsement of Oregon Right to Life, the state’s largest pro-life organization that works to protect human life both from abortion and from assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon. In addition, Cornilles opposes the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law.
The general election is scheduled for January 31, 2012. Republicans have nothing to lose in this race. If Democrats are able to hold the seat, it will mean very little nationally considering the highly favorable demographics of the district. However, if a Republican wins, the election would be the second high-profile Scott Brown-like upset in the past year, giving pause to any Democrat seeking elected office.