NARAL, WFP FOLLOW PLAN GOP
Katha Pollitt missed some key points in her analysis of how choice is playing in the midterm elections [“Subject to Debate,” Oct. 9]. She’s right that NARAL Pro-Choice America will play an integral role in many key races but wrong to suggest this electoral plan is self-defeating. It’s exactly the opposite. Our political action committee, which makes decisions on which candidates to endorse, comprises Democrats, Republicans and Independents from across the country. This board has authorized nearly $500,000 in direct contributions in this election cycle to 117 dynamic prochoice incumbents and challengers from both parties.
As I explained to Pollitt during our phone conversation, NARAL Pro-Choice America (and the board that makes our PAC decisions) supports candidates based on their individual records of support for a woman’s right to choose–not their party label. Yes, at this moment Congressional Democrats vote prochoice more often than incumbent Republicans. But as we all know in politics, the game board always changes. If you look at our generic vote count in the House, even if the Democrats take back control by a slim margin, without prochoice Republican votes there are more than enough antichoice Democrats to continue passing antichoice amendments and bills. The antichoice movement knows this and over the years has cultivated antichoice Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Should we be shortsighted and ignore the important and critically needed votes of prochoice Republicans?
Representatives Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons, both mentioned by Pollitt, have consistently stood up to antichoice leaders in their party and voted to support women’s freedom and privacy. In fact, both have served as leaders of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. They have never shied away from expressing their prochoice convictions. Without question, they have earned our endorsement.
Also, Pollitt gives too much weight to Connecticut when discussing how party control could switch in Congress. We can gain the fifteen seats we need for a prochoice House if Johnson and Simmons are re-elected.
The list below includes seventeen races in which we are supporting prochoice challengers against antichoice incumbents or prochoice challengers in open seats currently held by antichoice members. Yes, they’re all prochoice Democrats, who earned our endorsement under the same standards Johnson and Simmons did: Ellen Simon, Harry Mitchell, Ed Perlmutter, Ron Klein, Tammy Duckworth, Bruce Braley, Paul Aronsohn, Linda Stender, Attorney General Patricia Madrid, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Arcuri, Dan Maffei, Mary Jo Kilroy, Lois Murphy, Adm. Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy, Darcy Burner. So, if fifteen of these seventeen candidates win in November, we could have a prochoice House that includes members of both parties. Given their records, Johnson and Simmons will continue, if re-elected, to cross party lines to support prochoice legislation.