By Karen Cross, NRLC Political Director
After months and months of Republican presidential debates, the American electorate is fully aware that in a little over eight months, a pro-life GOP candidate will square off against pro-abortion President Barack Obama. But while everyone knows the presidential primaries are already in full swing, far fewer realize the 2012 congressional primary season is just beginning.
The congressional primaries start March 6 and run through September 11. Primary elections, where the parties determine their candidates, are crucial in shaping the direction of the general election. (A complete schedule of the congressional and presidential primaries and filing deadlines can be found at http://www.nrlpac.org/pdf/2012%20Primary%20Dates.pdf.)
In many primary races, there are multiple candidates running for their party’s nomination. Fortunately, many are pro-life candidates who are working to demonstrate their pro-life credentials.
You may have a favorite candidate in one of those races. If so, of course work hard for your candidate.
However, in your determination to help him or her win the nomination, it is important that you don’t bash the other pro-life candidates. It weakens support for the candidate who eventually wins (even if it is your favorite!) and undermines the very goal of saving countless lives.
With that in mind, what does it mean to be a pro-life voter in 2012? First and foremost it means looking beyond our own personal preferences and supporting the candidate who can best save babies’ lives.
It means that if your candidate does not win the primary, it is crucial that you stay engaged. When pro-life voters stay home, babies die.
It also means you don’t throw your support behind a third-party candidate who claims to be the “real” pro-life candidate, but who cannot possibly win—and can only ensure the election of the pro-abortion candidate by dividing the pro-life vote. Again, babies die.
Once all the primaries are over it’s on to the general election. Chances are that there will be some edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, close elections in 2012.
These are precisely the types of elections in which support from the National Right to Life Political Action Committee has made—and will make—a crucial difference for pro-life candidates. If you go online to www.nrlpac.org/pdf/NRLC%20Advantage%202010.pdf, you’ll get a real sense of how important the National Right to Life PAC advantage is.
For example, in two separate polls, 76% of voters recognize National Right to Life and 24% recalled receiving information from NRL PAC. Most importantly, 30% said the abortion issued affected the way they voted. Of that 30%, 22% voted for the pro-life candidate to only 8% for the pro-abortion candidate!
With that in mind let’s look at what is at stake in 2012.
Of the 33 Senate races in 2012, most (if not all) will involve a pro-life candidate versus a pro-abortion candidate. At this point it appears that 11 (or one-third) will include a well-funded EMILY’s List candidate. EMILY’s List is a pro-abortion political action committee which supports only the most pro-abortion female Democrat candidates, those who support abortion on demand, partial-birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion.
On November 6, pro-life voters can help determine whether or not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) continues set the agenda in the Senate. “As long as the Senate is in the control of Majority Leader Reid and a like-minded majority, pro-life bills and amendments that are passed out of the House are going to sink deep into a quicksand of obstructionism in the Senate,” said NRLC Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.
A net turnover of four Senate seats is necessary to gain pro-life control of the Senate.
In 2010, NRL PAC was actively involved in 130 races nationwide and won 88 of those races. Of those, 20 candidates were in highly competitive races against candidates supported by EMILY’s List.
In 14 of the 20 head-to-head races (or 70%), the candidate supported by National Right to Life PAC won, even though EMILY’s List is notorious for raising and spending huge amounts of money in its elections.
Because of those successes, pro-abortion House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) was replaced by pro-life John Boehner (R).
We mustn’t lose sight of the big picture. Pro-life legislation saves lives. We need pro-life majorities in both houses of Congress in order to pass pro-life legislation. And it cannot be forgotten that anyone nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by the next President must be confirmed by the Senate.
Remember, elections really do have enormous consequences. In order to pass our pro-life legislative agenda (or to stop the pro-abortion initiatives), pro-life lawmakers must hold majority control in both houses of Congress, and we need a pro-life President as well.
When we don’t, babies die.
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