2013 Election Overview

By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director

Pro-Life South Carolina Senator Tim Scott

Pro-Life South Carolina Senator Tim Scott

While many are looking to 2014 for the next round of elections, six states are already busy with “off-year” elections in 2013.  Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, and South Carolina will hold special elections due to vacancies. In addition, New Jersey and Virginia will hold their gubernatorial elections.

South Carolina

Governor Nikki Haley appointed pro-life Congressman Tim Scott to fill the vacancy created when Pro-life Senator Jim DeMint resigned to lead the Heritage Foundation. This created a vacancy in the first congressional district.

In South Carolina, if no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote, a runoff is held between the top two vote-getters.  A special primary election was held on March 19 and with 16 Republicans competing, not surprisingly there will be a runoff.  

Former Governor Mark Sanford and former Charleston County councilman Curtis Bostic will proceed to the April 2 runoff.  Both candidates are pro-life.

The winner will face pro-abortion Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch in the May 7 special general election.  The race is Republican favored.

Missouri

A special election will be held on June 4 in Missouri’s 8th congressional district to replace Pro-Life Rep. JoAnn Emerson, who resigned to become President and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The nominees were chosen by committees or conventions.

Pro-life state Representative Jason Smith was nominated at the Republican Convention. State Representative Steve Hodges was nominated at the Democratic Convention.  Rep. Hodges has a mixed pro-life record. Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee endorsed Jason Smith.  Pundits expect this seat to remain Republican.

Massachusetts

A vacancy occurred when the United States Senate confirmed pro-abortion Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State.  Governor Deval Patrick appointed William Cowan as interim Senator until the special election is held.  Currently there are three Republicans and two Democrats vying for their respective party’s nomination in the April 30 special primary.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life Political Action Committee endorsed former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan (R).  “Michael Sullivan has been a fighter for the unborn and for the right to life of all,” John Rowe, Chairman of the MCFL PAC, announced with the endorsement.

“In the U.S. Senate,” Rowe continued, “Sullivan will vote to prohibit abortion coverage under federal ‘multi-state’ health plans, vote for parental notification and not bringing minor girls across state lines to have abortions without their parents’ knowing, and vote for conscience rights.”

On the Democratic side, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (the political arm of the nation’s largest abortion provider), announced their support of pro-abortion Congressman Ed Markey.  “Throughout his career, Ed has been a steadfast champion for women and their access to health care – voting to support the historic women’s health advancements in the Affordable Care Act and opposing attacks on access to safe and legal abortion,” Richards said.

Markey is running against pro-abortion Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) who has a 10% voting record in the 112th Congress, according to National Right to Life.  Markey’s record with National Right to Life is 0% for the same time period.

The winner of the June 25 special election will fill the seat until the November 2014 election.  Political pundits expect this seat to remain Democratic.

Illinois

A special election was scheduled for April 9 after pro-abortion Rep. Jesse Jackson (D) resigned his 2nd congressional seat.  Pro-life Republican candidate Paul McKinley and pro-abortion Democrat Cook County Chief Administrative Official Robin Kelly were nominated in the February 26 primary.  The race is considered solid Democratic.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s primary will be held on June 4 and the general on November 5.  Pro-abortion state Senator Barbara Buono (D) is challenging pro-life Governor Chris Christie (R) in New Jersey’s 2013 gubernatorial election.  In a February Quinnipiac poll, Governor Christie enjoyed a 74% approval rating and is polling 37 points ahead of state Senator Buono.

Virginia

Pro-life Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and pro-abortion Terry McAuliffe (D),  former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, are running for governor in Virginia.  Pro-life Governor Bob McDonnell is not eligible to run for a second term. A February 2013 Quinnipiac poll found Cuccinelli and McAuliffe in a virtual tie with 38 points each.  The contest is expected to be particularly intense and very close.

Look for election updates in future National Right to Life News Today.