Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson is set to announce today that he will not seek re-election to his U.S. Senate seat after losing his status as a darling of the pro-life movement by agreeing to support the abortion-funding Obamacare bill.
“Simply put: It is time to move on,” he said today.
His decision to not seek re-election leaves Democrats without a major candidate for the Senate seat and, at this time, makes it almost certain that Republicans will take over the seat. That’s important for pro-life organizations looking for Republicans to take over the Senate next year so pro-life legislation has a chance for an up or down vote.
Changing hands also makes the Senate more likely to vote to cut off taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business and it would give a potential pro-life president an easier chance of getting Surpeme Court nominees through the chamber to help buttress the support for overturning Roe v. Wade.
Nelson recently learned he would be facing half a million in advertisements criticizing his record, the National Right to Life Committee and its Nebraska state affiliate announced they will oppose Nelson.
Formerly a celebrated pro-life Democrat who enjoyed support from Right to Life for his standing as a minority voice within the Democratic party speaking against abortion, Nelson lost his support within pro-life circles after he voted for the abortion-funding Obamacare health care reform bill even after his amendment to ensure abortion funding was removed from it failed in the Senate.
Nelson is faced potential Republican candidates who fare well in most state polls concerning the 2012 election and Nelson would lose further support following a recent announcement from the the National Right to Life PAC (NRL PAC) saying it has joined the Nebraska Right to Life Political Action Committee in opposing Nelson (D) for re-election.
Nebraska Right to Life director Julie Schmit-Albin reacted to the retirement news with an email to LifeNews.com.
“After his betrayal in 2009, Nebraska Right to Life PAC said Senator Nelson’s reversal on abortion language in healthcare was the final straw,” she said. “Pro-life Nebraskans had been kicked in the teeth and Nebraska Right to Life PAC announced then that it would never support Senator Nelson for re-election.”
“After abandoning pro-life language and caving in the 11th hour on healthcare reform, pro-life Nebraskans can expect that Senator Nelson’s replacement will respect the strong pro-life sentiment in this State,” she added. “And Senator Nelson can retire with his legacy of being the 60th vote that foisted abortion funding healthcare policy upon the nation.”
The two groups informed LifeNews that they both consider the vote on the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) (“Obamacare”) to be an absolutely critical vote to the right-to-life movement. As enacted into law, the Obama health care law contained multiple provisions authorizing subsidies for abortion, and also provisions that opened the doors to abortion-expanding administrative actions. In addition, the law would lead to government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical treatment.
“Ben Nelson was the deciding vote to make the Obama health care law the law of the land, and in the current Congress, Nelson has a 0% pro-life voting record,” said National Right to Life Executive Director David O’Steen. “Ben Nelson cannot win in Nebraska without pro-life support and he won’t have it. No pro-lifer should even consider supporting Ben Nelson for re-election.”
Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, added, “Ben Nelson’s vote for the pro-abortion, pro-rationing Obama health care law was a total betrayal of pro-life principles and a total betrayal of pro-life voters who stood by him in the past. Nebraska is a pro-life state and deserves better.”
Crossroads GPS, a group unaffiliated with the RNC, founded by top GOP strategist Karl Rove and former RNC chairman Mike Duncan, has reserved $519,000 in airtime on Nebraska’s largest media markets blasting Nelson’s vote for the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law.
At the time, LifeNews reporter Andrew Bair previous wrote, “Nelson has not yet confirmed whether he will seek a third term but with enormous pressure by groups like Crossroads, it is very possible he may just opt for retirement. Without Nelson, Democrats have a very weak bench in Nebraska and likely they will write off the race entirely. Republicans need just a few seats in order to retake control of the US Senate. Nebraska will be an absolutely necessary pick-up to achieve that goal. It’s hard to see Republicans losing Nebraska and somehow pulling off enough victories elsewhere to get the numbers.”
“While Democrats tout recent polling showing Nelson defeating each of his would-be Republican competitors, he remains incredibly vulnerable. Larry Sabato of the UVA Center for Politics has ranked the race a toss-up. Democrats are nervous about Nelson’s standing in Nebraska and the implications for their control of the Senate after 2012,” he said. “The Nebraska Democratic Party, funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has aired $1.25 million in advertising on behalf of Nelson. Last week the Democratic Senate Majority PAC spent another $100,000 on their own ads. Democrats are essentially conceding without Nelson in the race, they will have to give up hope in the Cornhusker State.”