2018 Election Overview: Where will your governor stand on abortion?

By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director

Thirty-six states will hold gubernatorial races on November 6. With less than two months to go until the general election, primaries are wrapping up. Most of the nominees have been determined by their political parties and many head-to-head elections are in place.

Following are highlights of the pro-life vs. pro-abortion governors’ races from across the nation.

ALABAMA

Pro-life Governor Kay Ivey (R) will face a challenge by pro-abortion Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D).

“Gov Kay Ivy has been a leader in respect for human life and support for mothers in Alabama,” Cheryl Ciamarra, National Right to Life’s Alabama director, told NRL News Today. “We are confident she will sign common sense laws that uphold the dignity of women and the unborn.”

This race is rated solid Republican by Cook Political Report.

ALASKA

Alaska has a three-way gubernatorial race between pro-life former state Senator Mike Dunleavy (R), pro-abortion former U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D), and Gov. Bill Walker (I).

“I’m looking forward to having a truly pro-life governor in Alaska in Mike Dunleavy,” said Karen Lewis, president of PRO-LIFE ALASKA.

Walker disappointed pro-life Alaskans with his nomination of a former Planned Parenthood worker to Alaska’s midwifery board. (The Alaska legislature rejected her nomination.)

Mark Begich supports a policy of abortion on demand, and he support using tax dollars to pay for abortion. He had a pro-abortion voting record while in Congress.

Recent polls have Mike Dunleavy leading the trio. The gubernatorial race is considered a tossup.

ARIZONA

Pro-life Governor Doug Ducey (R) is being challenged by pro-abortion Democrat David Garcia. Garcia is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates Arizona and NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona.

During his 2014 campaign, Gov. Ducey promised he would “defend the most fundamental right of any person – the right to life. We need to encourage across our state a culture of life in which the most vulnerable and needy are not viewed as a problem, but as a priority.”

As governor, Ducey has kept his promise and has signed pro-life legislation into law.

In contrast, Garcia says he will “veto any bill that infringes on women’s reproductive rights.”

This race is considered likely Republican by Cook Political Report.

ARKANSAS

Pro-life Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) will face pro-abortion attorney Jared Henderson (D). When asked about abortion, Henderson is evasive. He says he “understands the complexity of the abortion debate,” but when asked directly whether abortion should allowed, he says yes.

Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, recognized Hutchinson as a friend to the unborn. “Governor Asa Hutchinson is a great friend of life, defending the innocent unborn and their mothers by supporting and signing pro-life laws, keeping tax dollars away from Planned Parenthood and standing together with Arkansas Right to Life in the protection of life,” she said.

This race is rated solid Republican by Cook Political Report.

CALIFORNIA

In California’s governor’s race, pro-life Republican John Cox and pro-abortion Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) are running for the open seat left vacant by the retirement of pro Pro-abortion Gov. Jerry Brown.

“John Cox is committed to uphold the right to Life and restore it to its proper place in the law,” said Brian Johnston, NRLC western regional director. “The proclamation of the right to life occurs in the First Amendment of the California Constitution, as well as in our nation’s Declaration of Independence. John Cox is dedicated to again assert these core values in California.”

This race is rated solid Democratic by Cook Political Report.

COLORADO

Vying for pro-abortion Gov. John Hickenlooper’s open seat are pro-life former Parker Mayor Walker Stapleton (R) and pro-abortion Congressman Jared Polis (D).

Steven Ertelt, president of Colorado Citizens for Life, explained the vast difference between the candidates on life. “Walker Stapleton takes a common-sense pro-life position that is shared by a majority of Americans,” he said. “On the other hand, Jared Polis supports abortion up to birth for any reason, including supporting late-term abortions on viable babies. Polis strongly supports forcing Coloradans to pay for abortions, including forcing Catholic nuns to pay for abortion drugs. Polis is too extreme for Colorado.”

This race is rated lean Democrat by Cook Political Report.

FLORIDA

On August 27, pro-life Congressman Ron DeSantis (R) and pro-abortion Tallassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) won their parties’ nominations for governor. (DeSantis has since stepped down from Congress to focus on the race.) The contrast between the candidates is huge.

“The Florida Governors race is an example of two starkly different candidates,” said Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life. “DeSantis is a solid, pro-life capitalist conservative, while Gillum is a rabidly pro-abortion, socialist. Florida Right to Life believes the DeSantis versus Gillum race is a race between good versus evil! The George Soros backed candidate, Andrew Gillum, wants to undo all of our pro-life work and would set our state back on the path towards death! ”

Bell concluded, “This may be one of the most important races in the country. A victory for DeSantis is a victory for Life!”

Ron DeSantis opposes using tax dollars to pay for abortion, and he voted against taxpayer funding of abortion providers while in Congress. Andrew Gillum supports a policy of abortion on demand and he supports taxpayer funding of abortion providers.

This race is considered a tossup by Cook Political Report. Recent polling has Gillum ahead of DeSantis by two points.

GEORGIA

Pro-life Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) will face state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), who is pro-abortion and wants government funding to continue to go to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Not surprisingly, Abrams is supported by Planned Parenthood’s political arm, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and EMILY’s List.

The New York Times said of Abrams:

“The candidacy of Stacey Abrams, a liberal former state house leader, will test just how much Georgia’s traditionally conservative politics are shifting.”

Will Georgia voters overlook their pro-life values and elect someone so extreme on abortion that she supports unlimited abortion for any reason? Or will they vote to elect a pro-life governor, maintaining their strong pro-life values?

This race is rated lean Republican by Cook Political Report.

IDAHO

Pro-life Governor Butch Otter (R) is term-limited. His successor will be either pro-life Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R) or pro-abortion former state Rep. Paulette Jordan (D) in Idaho’s open gubernatorial election.

The seat is expected to remain in pro-life hands.

IOWA

Pro-life Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds (R) will face pro-abortion businessman Fred Hubbell (D) in November.

“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred,” Reynolds has said. “And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it.”

Fred Hubbell, who was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, supports a policy of abortion on demand.

This race is rated a tossup by Cook Political Report.

KANSAS

Pro-life Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) will challenge pro-abortion state Sen. Laura Kelly (D) to replace pro-life Governor Sam Brownback who was chosen by President Trump to be Ambassador at-large for international religious freedom.

Laura Kelly is an EMILY’s List candidate.

EMILY’s List is a pro-abortion group that only supports female Democrat candidates that support abortion on demand, and taxpayer funding of abortion on demand.

Will Kansans vote for a gubernatorial candidate who supports unlimited abortion?

This race is considered a tossup by Cook Political Report.

MAINE

Pro-life Gov. Paul LePage is term-limited and the contest to replace him is considered a tossup. Pro-life Republican Shawn Moody and pro-abortion state Attorney General Janet Mills (D), an EMILY’s List candidate, will meet in November.

“I support Maine Right to Life’s legislative efforts within our state, especially efforts to require parental notification and consent for minors seeking abortions,” said Shawn Moody. “I am a father, and grandfather, and believe in protecting life.”

MICHIGAN

Pro-life Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) will face pro-abortion former state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), an EMILY’s List candidate.

Bill Schuette has demonstrated his belief in the value of every child, including support for a ban on the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion, to ensuring that children born alive after failed abortion attempts are protected.

Gretchen Whitmer has supported abortion on demand in the state legislature, even voting many times to allow brutal partial-birth abortions to continue.

Schuette voted against using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion, and he opposes giving tax dollars to abortion providers. Whitmer supports taxpayer funding of abortion providers, and tried to mandate abortion coverage, forcing all policy holders to pay for elective abortions.

This race is considered a tossup by Cook Political Report.

MINNESOTA

In Minnesota’s gubernatorial election, pro-life Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) will face pro-abortion Congressman Tim Walz (D), who resigned his seat to run for governor.

There is a stark contrast between the candidates on life. Jeff Johnson supports the protection of unborn children and will sign protective pro-life legislation. Jeff Johnson opposes using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion on demand.

Tim Walz supports a policy of abortion on demand, and he voted for taxpayer funding of abortion providers.

“Jeff Johnson will be a committed pro-life governor for Minnesota,” said Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state’s NRLC affiliate. “He supports pro-life initiatives such as ending the state’s unjust taxpayer funding of abortion, which has cost taxpayers $25 million. He will defend our existing protective laws, including the prohibition against assisted suicide. Minnesota needs a strong pro-life governor, and Jeff Johnson will restore respect for all human life as governor.”

This race is rated lean Democrat by Cook Political Report.

NEBRASKA

Pro-life Governor Pete Ricketts (R) is being challenged by state Senator Bob Krist. Krist switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run against Ricketts

“Gov. Ricketts has returned Nebraska as a leader in pro-life policy by inserting reform language on Title X funding into his budget,” said Julie Schmit-Albin, Nebraska Right to Life executive director. “This was the first legislation in seven years that will have a direct impact on the abortion industry.”

This race is rated solid Republican by Cook Political Report.

NEVADA

Pro-abortion Gov. Brian Sandoval is term-limited. His replacement will be either pro-life Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) or pro-abortion Democrat Steve Sisolak. The outcome is considered a tossup.

“The choice for governor of the state of Nevada could not be more clear,” said Melissa Clement, Nevada Right to Life president. “Adam Laxalt recognizes and values innocent life from conception to natural death. His opponent has attacked life-affirming, women-centered crisis pregnancy centers and called them shameful. His opponent favors no restrictions at all on abortions. Steve Sisolak spent the primary election pandering to Planned Parenthood, pledging his allegiance to the nation’s largest abortion provider.”

NEW MEXICO

The Governor’s seat in New Mexico is open as pro-life Gov. Susana Martinez (R) is term-limited. Pro-life Congressman Steve Pearce (R) will run against pro-abortion Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), whose position on life is so extreme she even voted against protecting babies 20 weeks and older who can experience extreme pain during abortion.

“Congressman Steve Pearce is an upright, forthright, dedicated pro-life legislator,” said Dauneen Dolce, executive director and PAC chairwoman for Right to Life Committee of New Mexico. “He has been since I have known him when he was a New Mexico state representative. What you see is what, luckily, we will get.”

This race is rated lean Democrat by Cook Political Report.

OHIO

In Ohio’s gubernatorial race, pro-life Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) will face pro-abortion Democrat Richard Cordray. Cordray is supported by the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, and he is committed to restoring tax dollars to Planned Parenthood.

“Ohio Right to Life is proud to stand with Mike DeWine and with the endorsement of National Right to Life, pro-life Ohioans are poised to elect him Governor of Ohio,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “The life savings gains we have made during the past 8 years will only increase with Mike DeWine’s leadership. The election of Mike DeWine is as important as any in our state’s history in order to protect women and their children.”

This race is rated a tossup by Cook Political Report.

OKLAHOMA

Pro-life businessman Kevin Stitt (R) won Oklahoma’s GOP runoff on August 28. He will run against pro-abortion former Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) for Republican Governor Mary Fallin’s term-limited seat.

“Kevin Stitt is an outstanding pro-life leader who not only supports the enactment of legislation to defend the lives of unborn children, but who also recognizes the importance of a judiciary that respects the intrinsic value of innocent human life,” said Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans For Life.

This race is rated likely Republican by Cook Political Report.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pro-life state Senator Scott Wagner (R) is challenging pro-abortion Governor Tom Wolf (D).

“Scott Wagner has been a passionate protector of innocent human life,” said Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. “He will ensure that our hard-earned tax dollars will not be used to pay for abortion. And he opposes brutal late-term abortions, which are also opposed by the vast majority of Pennsylvanians.”

The race is considered likely Democrat.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Pro-life Governor Henry McMaster (R) will square off against pro-abortion state Rep. James Smith (D). As governor, McMaster has been a faithful protector of life in the state.

On July 13, reiterating the state’s “strong culture and longstanding tradition of protecting and defending the life and liberty of unborn children,” Gov. McMaster ordered the Department of Health and Human Services “to take all necessary actions to exclude abortion clinics from receiving taxpayer funds for any purpose.”

The week before he issued his executive order, Gov. McMaster vetoed all family planning funds in the new budget in order to fulfill a campaign promise that he would “do whatever I can to stop Planned Parenthood from getting taxpayer money.”

Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, warmly praised the governor.

“We commend Gov. McMaster for not only keeping his promise to protect innocent human life in South Carolina but also keeping his promise to taxpayers of South Carolina who should not be forced to fund agencies that destroy human life,” she said.

Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, added, “Abortion is not health care. Abortion is an act of violence that kills an unborn member of our human family.”

This race is rated likely Republican by Cook Political Report.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Pro-life Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R) and Democrat Billie Sutton are running for governor in the seat left open due to term limits for pro-life Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R).

“Kristi Noem is a strong advocate for the defenseless. A proven pro-life leader, she is and will continue to be 100% pro-life. Her choice of Larry Rhoden as Lieutenant Governor reflects her commitment to our first right, the right to life,” said Valerie Johnson, NRLC board member for South Dakota Right to Life.

This race is rated solid Republican by Cook Political Report.

TENNESSEE

Following Tennessee’s August 2 primary, pro-life businessman Bill Lee (R) and pro-abortion former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) are vying for pro-life Governor Bill Haslam’s open seat.

Bill Lee said, “I am strongly pro-life, and as governor, I will support laws that reduce the number of abortions in Tennessee.”

In contrast, Karl Dean supports a policy of abortion on demand.

This race is rated likely Republican by Cook Political Report.

TEXAS

Democrats held a runoff for their gubernatorial nomination and pro-abortion Lupe Valdez prevailed. He will take on pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Valdez is supported by Planned Parenthood Texas.

In announcing Gov. Abbott as a 2017 “Pro-life Hero,” Texas Right to Life wrote that he “completely redeemed a frustrating regular session of the 85th Texas Legislature by calling a special session to address multiple policies, including four specific Pro-Life issues.”

This race is rated solid Republican by Cook Political Report.

WISCONSIN

Pro-life Governor Scott Walker (R) is facing a challenge by pro-abortion state Superintendent Tony Evers (D).

“Over the years, Governor Walker vocally speaks for life and his actions on legislation reinforce his commitment to fight for the most vulnerable,” said Heather Weininger, executive director for Wisconsin Right to Life.

“Governor Scott Walker has always been a friend of life,” Weininger continued. “Just this year he ended a 23 year practice of elective abortions being covered for Wisconsin State Employees through their insurance. During the 2016-2017 legislative session he signed into law a bill that redirects Title X taxpayer dollars away from Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin and instead directs the funds to organizations that do not provide abortions. He signed into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and now abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization are illegal in Wisconsin.”

In contrast, Tony Evers supports using tax dollars to pay for abortion on demand, and stated abortions should be paid for with Medicaid dollars, comparing abortion to “tonsillectomies.”

This race is rated lean Republican by Cook Political Report.

WYOMING

In pro-life Governor Matt Mead’s open seat, pro-life state Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) will face pro-abortion Democrat Mary Throne, who is supported by NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming. The seat is considered safe Republican.

Be sure to look for election updates in future editions of www.nationalrighttolifenews.org.