Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Analysis of GOP Primary Results

With the final results for the GOP August 10 Primary mostly totaled, we can look back and see how the election went in terms of pro-life, pro-Personhood candidates.

Overall, I see it as a big win for Personhood, despite a few unfortunate setbacks.

In two key primary races the pro-Personhood candidate lost. In the 3rd Congressional District Bob McConnell was one of the first candidates to return the Colorado Right to Life survey, and he affirmed support for Personhood. His opponent didn’t, hasn’t endorsed Personhood, and seems embarrassed by the whole “pro-life” aspect of the campaign, though he claims to be pro-life. But Scott Tipton won, and pro-lifers need to reach out to him and insist that he publicly support Personhood. Tipton’s already lost a race to Democrat John Salazar once, and he will need the support of the pro-life community to win. He’s got work to do, and he can start by publicly endorsing Amendment 62.

In the 6th State Senate District, in southwestern Colorado, there was an important race for State Senate between pro-Personhood Dean Boehler and pro-abortion Ellen Roberts. It looked like Boehler was going to win, but then liberal special interests spent more than $40,000 in 527 money attacking him and promoting his opponent. Plus his opponent outspent him with her own funds. These special interests included groups connected with the pro-Obamacare, pro-abortion Colorado Medical Society. Ellen Roberts is the most pro-abortion Republican in the Legislature today, and so the pro-abortion medical interests will win no matter who wins this race. It’s best if the pro-abort winner is “their pro-abort” (i.e. a Democrat) not “our pro-abort” (a Republican), because that will make it easier to put a pro-lifer into that seat in 4 years.

Also, in Denver’s moderate southwest State Senate district, pro-Personhood CJ Garbo lost to a moderate Republican whose views we don’t know.

But everywhere else, pro-Personhood candidates prevailed over their opponents in hotly contested primaries.

The biggest victory for Personhood today was Ken Buck, for U.S. Senate. Opponent Jane Norton had endorsed Personhood, and generally had a pro-life record, but on her website she endorsed abortion in cases of rape and incest, which is a stand entirely opposed to the concept of Personhood. Ken Buck endorsed Personhood early on, and has been a reliable voice in favor of protecting all life at the beginning of its biological development.

Americans United for Life – a pro-compromise, establishment pro-life group – had endorsed Jane Norton. That was the first endorsement of any candidate that organization had made in four decades. Why did they endorse her? Because of Colorado Right to Life and the Personhood movement! AUL realized that if the winner of the primary for the U.S. Senate was a candidate who supported the Personhood strategy, instead of their compromised regulation strategy, it would be the beginning of the end for their control over the regulatory process. Why would they make this their first endorsement ever, in any state in all of history? Why prefer a candidate with exceptions over a candidate who would protect the life of the unborn from conception forward -- NO exceptions? Ironically, Americans United for Life endorsed Jane Norton specifically because she wasn't 100% pro-life! This was a key race for them – for all the marbles – and they lost. Personhood won.

Another key victory was in the Governor’s race, where we now know there will be two candidates on the November ballot who support Personhood – Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo. Scott McInnis had endorsed Personhood, and even told me in person that if a Personhood bill crossed his desk he would sign it, but there were always doubts on our side if he was serious, or just putting us on. Now we don’t have to worry about it. I’ve spoken with Dan Maes about Personhood myself, after some comments he made that caused us to doubt, and I came away assured that he was serious – he will support Personhood.

As for Tom Tancredo, who I’m betting will stay in the race until the end, his best chance for victory was Dan Maes winning. If McInnis had won, he would probably have been forced out and replaced by a “safe” Republican with lots of money or name recognition, or both. Such a candidate could be relied upon to get a large percentage of the vote. As it is, there are a lot of Republicans who don’t think Dan Maes can win (I disagree), and so those voters will go to Tancredo. Ever since Tancredo first entered the race I have encouraged a “40% solution.” It’s possible Tancredo could get as little as 10% of the vote, and that could allow Dan Maes to win the Governor’s race with only 46% of the vote (split 46-44). But I don’t think that’s realistic. Dan Maes is either going to prove himself and be a strong candidate, or he’ll slip up and be a weak one. Either way, I believe Tancredo will get at least 15-20% of the vote. This means the path to victory is getting 40% or more of the vote. The winner would get 41%, holding Hickenlooper to 40%, with the spoiler getting 19%. It remains to be seen whether the winner might be Tancredo or Maes, but the requirement for either to win must be to hold Hickenlooper to 40%. That’s possible ONLY if both Maes and Tancredo spend their time talking about conservative principles and beating up on Hickenlooper, not on each other. If they fight each other, they’re just trading conservative votes with each other – the winner will have to expand the number of conservative voters by talking about principles and common sense.

Despite his claims, Ryan Frazier, the winner of the 7th Congressional District primary, is not pro-life. He says he’s personally pro-life, but the government should stay out. It’s worth extending an offer to talk, and see if he’s willing to make a solid commitment for Personhood, but it will be difficult to trust any such commitment.

Nevertheless, three of the seven candidates for districts in Congress are on record as supporting Personhood – Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman – and there’s a chance either Tipton or Frazier may join with us later.

In the State House, a critical primary in a three way race was won by pro-Personhood Chris Holbert, who just barely beat a pro-abortion opponent with lots of money. He’s in a safe district, and his election in November is pretty much assured.

Another State House primary was won by pro-Personhood Ray Scott over his opponent who was widely believed to be pretending to be conservative, and who refused to sign on with Personhood.

In the State Senate, two Personhood candidates defeated their opponents. Kevin Grantham in Pueblo and Canon City won against a pro-abortion opponent. And in Pueblo itself Vera Ortegon won easily against her opponent who supported Personhood but who also had rape & incest exceptions.

Overall, 11 out of 19 Republicans running for the State Senate this year are pro-Personhood, and there may be more we don’t know about, or who will sign on later.

And in the House 17 out of 65 candidates are on record as supporting Personhood, but probably twice that actually do, and just haven’t gone on record.

Compared to just 2 years ago, there are probably twice as many candidates for the Legislature who are supporting Personhood and most of the Republicans at the top of the ticket (Senate, Governor, Congress) are supporting Personhood now whereas very few did so just 2 years ago.

The whole game has changed with regard to Personhood. With these key Republican figures supporting Personhood, it’s likely Amendment 62 will also do much better at the ballot box in November.

As a final note, as of Wednesday morning, please say a prayer for Georgia. The runoff for Governor of Georgia remains too close to call. Georgia Right to Life is a pro-Personhood ally, and they endorsed four of the five candidates for Governor in Georgia as pro-life, which to them means pro-Personhood. Karen Handel was the only Republican candidate who didn’t support Personhood, and she was one of two candidates in the August 10 Runoff. Handel also gave $1.2 million to Planned Parenthood as a county commissioner, and now claims she “had to” because they were supposedly the only vendor for womens’ health care. Her opponent, Nathan Deal, is pro-Personhood, and he has some ethics issues dogging him, but he remains the only candidate in the runoff who is pro-life.