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Pro-Life Democrats Continue to Falter

We're focusing on Democrats who supported a ban on abortion funding in the health care reform law but voted for the final bill. There were 32 of these Democrats running for re-election. About half of the candidates faced tough fights for reelection.

Where They're Losing

Ohio and Pennsylvania were not kind to the Democrats we're tracking.

In Pennsylvania, Christopher Carney (D, PA 10), Kathleen Dahlkemper (D, PA 3), and Paul Kanjorski (D, PA 11) went down in defeat. Dahlkemper had a strong pro-life record, but her vote on health care raised the ire of pro-life groups, targeted by both CitizenLink and the Susan B. Anthony List.

Ohio voters called home similar Democrats where Charles Wilson (D, OH 6) and John Boccieri (D, OH 16) were also defeated. Steve Driehaus (D, OH 1) is likely to be defeated, too. Driehaus made headlines when he filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission over a campaign billboard by the Susan B. Anthony List. The billboard said Driehaus supported federal funding of abortion. Driehaus said the billboard was false. The case was not decided before the election.

In West Virginia, two of the three representatives were pro-life Democrats. One, however, never made it past the Democratic primaries. Alan Mollohan (D, WV 1) was defeated by Mike Oiverio, who is also pro-life. This race is still too close to call.

In the 3rd District, Nick Rahall defeated his Republican opponent Elliott Maynard. Rahall has a long pro-life voting record, but he upset pro-life groups when he backed the final version of the health care bill. As a result, West Virginia Right to Life and National Right to Life endorsed his opponent.

The pro-life Democrats did not do better further south.

Jim Marshall (D, GA 8) is one of two Georgia pro-life Democrats packing up his office. Unlike the other Democrats we're watching tonight, he had a 100 percent vote record on pro-life issues, according to Americans United for Life Action. He lost to Republican Austin Scott. Sanford Biship (D, GA 2) also lost. His pro-life record is weaker than some of the other Democrats we're watching, but he did vote for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to eliminate federal funding of abortion in the health care bill.

Incumbent Bob Etheridge may lose his seat in North Carolina's 2nd District in an election that proved to be much closer race than expected. However, Heath Shuler (D, NC 11) who had a near-perfect pro-life record, according to Americans United for Life Action (including opposition to the final health care law) won handily.

Where They're Winning

The election did indicate that Democrats who cast pro-life votes can win. One of the places they were safer were in districts with higher Catholic or urban populations. Democrats kept seats in New England such as Richard Neal (D, MA-2), Michael Michaud (D, ME 2), and James Langevin (D, RI 2). Pro-life voting Democrats held by Silvestre Reyes (D, TX-16), Timothy Ryan (D, OH-17), Michael Doyle (D, PA-14), Marcy Kaptur (D, OH-9), Jim Cooper (D, TN-5), and Jerry Costello (D, IL-12). Democrats are also expected to keep pro-life leaning districts in California.

Where They're Waiting

With races still close to call, we're still waiting for final results from a number of races. Most of these, however, appear to be going against the Democrats.

Bob Etheridge (D, NC-2)

Christopher Carney (D, PA-10)

Ciro Rodriguez (D, TX-23)

Dale Kildee (D, MI-5)

Henry Cuellar (D, TX-28)

James Oberstar (D, MN-8)

John Boccieri (D, OH-16)

John Salazar (D, CO-3)

John Spratt (D, SC-5)

Paul Kanjorski (D, PA-11)

Solomon Ortiz (D, TX-27)

Steve Driehaus (D, OH-1)

Hopefully, we'll know more by daybreak.

Related Topics:Politics
Posted:November 2, 2010 at 11:02PM
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Pro-Life Democrats Continue to Falter