Primaries, Runoffs, and
Special Elections Foreshadow Changes in Congress
By Karen Cross
The crucially important 2010
primary election season is proving to be extremely challenging and
busy. As of June 8, there have been twenty-five primary elections,
five special elections, and three runoffs, with many more to follow
before the November 2 general election. It is a very competitive
election cycle, with an unusually high number of candidates running
for Congress, and with top political analysts moving more races into
“toss up” categories each week.
Nevada’s June 8 Republican
primary was a tightly contested race with all three of the top
contenders pro-life. Former assemblywoman Sharron Angle won and will
challenge pro-abortion Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). Reid
was the primary author of the recently passed health care
legislation back by President Obama, which contained major problems
related to abortion policy and included components that will result
in government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical treatments.
Reid wrote his health bill, he rejected language that already had
been adopted by a big bipartisan majority in the House to prevent
federal subsidies for abortion, and he substituted language that
would result in federal subsidies for abortion coverage,” said
National Right to Life Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “This
is typical of Reid who for many years has cast occasional pro-life
votes for political camouflage when his vote was not decisive, but
who has been a major ally to the pro-abortion lobby on big issues.”
In California Carly Fiorina
(R), who refers to herself as “proudly pro-life,” defeated
pro-abortion former Rep. Tom Campbell in a three-way primary. She
will take on pro-abortion Senator Barbara Boxer (D), who has been in
the Senate since 1993.
In Pennsylvania, pro-life
former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) will run against pro-abortion
Congressman Joe Sestak (D) to replace pro-abortion Senator Arlen
Specter (D), whom Sestak defeated in the May 18 primary.
In Indiana, pro-abortion
Senator Evan Bayh (D) is retiring. The nominees for the open seat
are pro-life former Senator Dan Coats (R) and Congressman Brad
Ellsworth (D). Ellsworth voted for the Obama-Reid health care
Pro-life former Congressman
Rob Portman (R) and pro-abortion Lt. Governor Lee Fisher (D) will
square off in Ohio for the seat being vacated by pro-life Senator
In Kentucky, pro-life
candidate Rand Paul won the Republican nomination for the seat being
vacated by retiring pro-life Senator Jim Bunning (R). Paul’s
opponent will be pro-abortion Attorney General Jack Conway (D).
In Arkansas, pro-abortion
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) defeated pro-abortion Lt. Gov. Bill
Halter (D) in a June 8 runoff, and will face pro-life Congressman
John Boozman (R) in the general election.
In North Dakota, pro-life
Governor John Hoeven (R) will vie with pro-abortion State Senator
Tracy Potter (D) for the seat being vacated by three-term
pro-abortion Senator Byron Dorgan (D).
On May 3, three-term
pro-life Senator Robert Bennett was defeated at the Utah Republican
Party’s nominating convention. A June 22 runoff between pro-life
candidates Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater will determine the
Republican nominee. The winner will meet Sam Granato (D).
In Florida, a three-way race
has developed for the Senate seat currently held by retiring
pro-life Senator George LeMieux (R). Originally pro-life Florida
House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) and Governor Charlie Crist (R) were
slated to face each other in the Republican primary, but when polls
showed Rubio pulling well ahead, Crist announced that he will appear
on the November ballot as an independent. (As NRL News went to
press, Crist vetoed a pro-life ultrasound bill approved by the
legislature, saying that it “almost seems mean-spirited.”) The
Democrats are expected to nominate pro-abortion Congressman Kendrick
Meek for the seat.
U.S. House of
In West Virginia’s First
Congressional District, 14-term Congressman Alan Mollohan was
defeated by pro-life State Senator Mike Oliverio. Oliverio was
endorsed by National Right to Life PAC after Mollohan voted for the
Obama-backed health care legislation. Oliverio’s Republican
opponent, former state Delegate David McKinley, is also pro-life.
In Hawaii, pro-abortion Rep.
Neil Abercrombie (D) gave up his First Congressional District seat
to run for governor, and has been replaced by Republican Charles
Djou, who has a mixed position, and who defeated two pro-abortion
Democrats in a special election. Djou will face pro-abortion state
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D) in the general election.
In Alabama, pro-abortion
Congressman Artur Davis lost to State Agricultural Commissioner Ron
Sparks in a June 1 primary for the Democratic nomination for
governor. Sparks will face the winner of a July 13 Republican runoff
between former state Senator Bradley Byrne and state Rep. Robert
In South Carolina, a June 22
runoff will determine whether Rep. Gresham Barrett or State
Representative Nikki Haley will win the Republican nomination to
face Democrat Vince Sheehan in the November 2 balloting for
While there are no grounds
for complacency, developments in the political season to date give
ample reason to hope that the November general election, now just
five months away, will be a pivotal turning point for the country.