2018 Primary Elections Update: Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania

By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director

National Right to Life endorsed pro-life Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) for reelection. (Pictured l-r: Darla St. Martin, NRL co-executive director; Senator Deb Fischer, and Karen Cross, NRL political director.)

The 2018 primary election season continues in full swing. On May 15, primaries were held in Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania to determine which candidates will run as the parties’ nominees on November 6.


Nebraska and Pennsylvania are electing U.S. Senators this year.

Pro-life incumbent Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) soundly won her primary. She is being challenged by pro-abortion Lincoln County Councilmember Jane Raybould (D), who is endorsed by Planned Parenthood. These candidates hold diametrically opposed views on life.

Sen. Fischer has a perfect 100 percent pro-life voting record during her term in the U.S. Senate. She supports legal protection for unborn children and she votes against using tax dollars to pay for abortion. Her opponent, Ms. Raybould, supports abortion for any reason.

In Pennsylvania, pro-life Congressman Lou Barletta prevailed in the Republican primary and will challenge pro-abortion Senator Bob Casey (D). Bob Casey is not his father.

The contrast between Barletta and Casey is stark. Sen. Casey has voted repeatedly in favor of funding hundreds of millions of dollars for Planned Parenthood, which performs about one out of every three abortions in America. Casey’s pro-life record in the 115th Congress is 20%. Congressman Barletta has maintained a perfect 100 percent pro-life voting record throughout his years in Congress.

Following are highlights which focus on races for the U.S. House of Representatives and governors’ races.


Pro-life Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R) will face pro-abortion former state Rep. Paulette Jordan (D) in Idaho’s open gubernatorial election. Pro-life Governor Butch Otter (R) is term-limited, and the seat is expected to remain in pro-life hands.

In Idaho’s open 1st congressional district, pro-life former state Sen. Russ Fulcher (R) will face Cristina McNeil (D), whose position on life is unknown. The seat is considered “safe Republican.”


Three of the four of Nebraska’s federal elections saw pro-abortion women win the Democratic nomination. As noted above pro-life Sen. Deb Fischer is being challenged by pro-abortion Democrat Jane Raybould.

In addition, in the 1st congressional district, pro-life Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) will face pro-abortion Democrat Jessica McClure, who is endorsed by VoteProChoice.

In the 2nd congressional district. pro-life Rep. Don Bacon (R) is facing pro-abortion Democrat Karen Eastman, who is also endorsed by VoteProChoice. This race is considered a tossup by pundits.

In April 2017, National Right to Life was involved in the Omaha mayor’s race in which pro-life incumbent Republican Mayor Jean Stothert was challenged by Heath Mello, a pro-abortion candidate who was supported by NARAL Pro-choice America. Stothert won that highly publicized pro-life v. pro-abortion election.


Pro-life Republican candidate Mark Callahan is challenging pro-abortion Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) in Oregon’s 5th congressional district. Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner is challenging pro-life Congressman Greg Walden (R) in the 2nd district.


Court-mandated redistricting created chaos in the Pennsylvania primaries. After courts mandated that Pennsylvania’s congressional districts had to be changed, many candidates were moved to new districts after they had filed. Because of redistricting, Pennsylvania has more competitive races than any other state except California. Pro-abortion Democrats are hopeful that they will pick up enough seats in Pennsylvania to take over pro-abortion leadership under current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.).

Five seats are open or vacant, one district has no incumbent and one has two incumbents pitted against each other. Democrats nominated six to seven pro-abortion women in the Congressional districts. (Pennsylvania currently has no women in Congress.)

Because of the redistricting, pro-life Congressman Keith Rothfus (R) and newly-elected pro-abortion Congressman Conor Lamb (D) are running in Pennsylvania’s new 17th district.

Pro-life state Senator Scott Wagner (R) is challenging pro-abortion Governor Tom Wolf (D). The race is considered “lean Democrat.”

(For more on Pennsylvania, see story by Maria Gallagher.)

As of press time, several congressional districts were too close to call to determine which candidates will be nominated to run on November 6. There will be a number of head-to-head pro-abortion vs. pro-life races in Pennsylvania on November 6.

Watch for future updates once the final tallies are in.

On May 22, voters will go to the polls in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky, and runoffs will be held in several of Texas’ congressional districts. Be sure to look for election updates in future editions of www.nationalrighttolifenews.org.