By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director
This has been an incredibly busy, absolutely insane election year. It seems as if we’ve been in election mode for an eternity. That said, there’s still much to do on behalf of the babies.
Yet to come are 16 states which have presidential primaries, 34 states to hold Senate primaries, and 44 states to hold congressional primaries.
On Tuesday, April 5, pro-life Senator Ted Cruz (Tx.) soundly triumphed in the Republican primary in Wisconsin, winning 36 delegates to 6 for Donald Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich won no delegates.
National Right to Life’s state affiliate’s PAC, Wisconsin Right to Life, Victory Fund, supported Ted Cruz in the primary. On April 2, 2016, the National Right to Life Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting Senator Cruz in the remaining primaries of states that have not yet chosen their delegates to the Republican National Convention, which will be held the week of July 18.
National Right to Life believes Senator Cruz is the only candidate for president who: has always been pro-life, has a 100% pro-life voting record with National Right to Life, can win the Republican nomination, and can defeat pro-abortion Hillary Clinton in November. Both Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) support abortion for any reason.
A Fox exit poll found in Wisconsin 65% of voters who wanted a candidate who “shares my values” voted for Ted Cruz.
There are more than 800 delegates remaining to be determined. If no candidate reaches 1,237 before the July Republican National Convention, an open convention will be held to determine the Republican nominee.
The Senate election will be tough in 2016. Twenty-four Republican seats are up compared to only 10 Democrat seats. Democrats need a net gain of five to have a majority in the Senate.
Currently, the most competitive Senate races are in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In Colorado more than a dozen Republicans are vying for the Republican nomination, which will be decided in a June 28 primary. The winner will square off with Colorado pro-abortion Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet. The race is considered “lean Democrat” by political pundits, in a state which voted 47% for Romney in 2012.
In Nevada, pro-abortion Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is retiring, thus his seat is open. The primary will be held June 14. There are nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination. Most likely the race will come down to pro-life Republican Congressman Joe Heck and former Democrat Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who is endorsed by EMILY’s List. Nevada went 46% for Romney.
Florida’s seat is open, due to the retirement of Marco Rubio, who ran for president. The filing deadline is in July. The primary is not until August 30, so there is a lot that can happen. Between the two parties, there are about two dozen candidates. The race is considered a pure tossup – 49% voted for Romney in 2012.
In New Hampshire, pro-abortion Governor Maggie Hassan (D), an EMILY’s List candidate, is challenging incumbent pro-life Senator Kelly Ayotte (R). It’s considered a tossup. The state went 47% for Romney.
North Carolina pro-life Senator Richard Burr (R) defeated his primary opponents and will face former Assemblywoman Deborah Ross (D), an EMILY’s List candidate, and returning Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh in November. This race is considered “lean Republican.”
In Ohio, there is another tossup Senate race. Incumbent pro-life Senator Rob Portman (R) will face a challenge from pro-abortion former Governor (and former congressman) Ted Strickland (D). 48% voted for Romney in Ohio.
Pennsylvania’s Senate primary will be held on April 26, to determine pro-life Republican Senator Pat Toomey’s challenger. The likely Democrat will be either Katie McGinty, an EMILY’s List candidate, or pro-abortion former Congressman Joe Sestak. This is another tossup, in a state that voted 51% for Obama in 2012.
In Wisconsin, pro-life Senator Ron Johnson (R) faces pro-abortion former Senator Russ Feingold (D) in a difficult race. Currently, Feingold is polling ahead slightly of Johnson in this tossup race. The state voted 51% for Obama.
There are three open governor’s seats currently held by Democrats which are considered tossups: Jay Nixon’s in Missouri, Maggie Hassan’s in New Hampshire, and Earl Ray Tomblin’s in West Virginia. Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s seat in North Carolina is also considered a tossup.
U.S. House of Representatives
As noted, there are 44 more congressional primary elections. Democrats need a net gain of 30 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.
There are about 17 potential pro-life opportunities to replace current pro-abortion House members.
A court threw out North Carolina’s congressional district map recently. The newly drawn districts will result in two of North Carolina’s incumbent House members pitted against each other in the newly-drawn second congressional district. National Right to Life endorsed Rep. George Holding over Rep. Renee Ellmers.
The endorsement letter for Congressman Holding read in part:
“Your record on this legislation contrasts sharply with the words and actions of your likely primary opponent, Rep. Renee Ellmers. There is no member of Congress in recent memory who has done greater harm to a major piece of pro-life legislation, while claiming to be pro-life, than Renee Ellmers. In early 2015, Ellmers suddenly launched an extended public campaign against the 20-week abortion ban, although the bill was identical to legislation that she had voted to pass on June 18, 2013.” (The letter then describes her actions.)
In many primary elections, candidates are challenging pro-life incumbent House members saying they are “not really pro-life” because the congressman (or congresswoman) voted in favor of the Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 2029). This is being said of some of the most stalwart defenders of life on the Hill. Some of the critics clearly have ulterior political motives, while others may merely be misinformed.
If this occurs in your state, you should defend the pro-life incumbent who is being unfairly criticized.
“No member of Congress did anything contrary to pro-life interests by voting in favor of the omnibus appropriations bill in December,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “The bill preserved existing pro-life laws such as the Hyde Amendment, and contrary to some claims, it contained no earmark, line item, or specific appropriation for Planned Parenthood. It is true that we need a new law to prevent Planned Parenthood from tapping into federal health programs such as Medicaid – but that effort was best advanced by approval of a separate bill, the budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 3762), which was immune from a pro-abortion filibuster. Although the reconciliation bill was vetoed, the filibuster-avoiding path blazed by H.R. 3762 can be employed to enact a block on funding to Planned Parenthood, once there is a president willing to sign it.”