Six pro-life races to watch besides the presidency

These half-dozen races will determine the strength of the pro-life vote in the U.S. Senate.
Mon Nov 5, 2012 - 9:00 pm EST

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2012, ( – While Americans focus on whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be sworn in as president next January, pro-life candidates are running for offices from the local to the national level. At least six U.S. Senate races will determine the strength of the pro-life contingent in the Senate and the likelihood of a Republican presidential victory.

Paul Ryan’s home state has leaned toward Democratic presidential candidates for several election cycles, but Republicans have come exasperatingly close to winning during the Bush years. The U.S. Senate race in 2012 has come down to a dead heat between former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Both parties have had their electoral machinery ready since the recall election, in which Governor Scott Walker survived an attempt to turn him out of office over his ending of collective bargaining with state employees. Thompson, who pioneered welfare reform in the early 1990s, remains popular, but polls show the race too close to call.

Indiana has been among the most Republican of all Midwest states. However, U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock finds himself facing a strong challenge from Joe Donnelly – and a stronger one from the mainstream media. Mourdock landed in hot water last month after saying that if a child was conceived during rape, the conception was something “God intended” to happen. Donnelly, who has the support of Democrats for Life, seized on the remarks to paint Mourdock as an extremist. However, Donnelly voted for ObamaCare as a member of the House of Representatives, something national pro-life groups say should cost him voters’ support. Mourdock retains the support of Mitt Romney and the national Republican Party. 

Todd Akin would like to be in Richard Mourdock’s shoes. After using the words “legitimate rape,” Akin – whose candidacy was opposed by the GOP establishment from the beginning – took a national battering. RNC Chair Reince Priebus said he would not send “a penny” to the candidate, and Crossroads GPS, associated with Karl Rove, cut him off. However, Akin has remained competitive in his bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, whose support for ObamaCare left her deeply unpopular. Recent polls show McCaskill ahead but not by much. 

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Retiring Democrat Ben Nelson cast the Senate’s decisive vote for ObamaCare after a backroom deal many referred to as “The Cornhusker Kickback.” It appears backlash will turn the seat over to the Republican Party tomorrow. Deb Fischer, whose Tea Party-backed candidacy gave her a surprise victory, leads former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey. Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran, ran for president in 1992 but lost the nomination to Bill Clinton. He went on to serve as dean of The New School before returning to his home state. Although still popular, his years out of state and his increasingly strident liberal positions make his return to Washington less likely.

Mitt Romney may take Montana for granted, but Republican U.S. Senate candidate Denny Rehberg has no such comfort. Polls show his race against incumbent Senator Jon Tester among the most evenly contested in the country. Tester doffed his flat-top as part of the 2006 strategy to highlight centrist Democrats who could win in red states. However, Tester is solidly pro-choice. Rehberg recently tried to shave Planned Parenthood funding out of an appropriations bill in his role as chairman of the House subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services. 

Two former state governors will face one another this year, as George Allen faces Democrat Tim Kaine. Were it not for a slip of the tongue in 2006, George Allen might be the presidential candidate this year. However, after narrowly losing the Senate race to Jim Webb, Allen has come roaring back against Kaine. Democrats for Life endorsed the pro-choice Kaine until Kelsey Hazzard of Secular Pro-Life publicized the discrepancy. Polls show the Senate race, like the presidential race, within the margin of error.

  2012, democrats for life of america dfla, montana, virginia

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