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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Choice in Pennsylvania: Abortion and 2006 Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Associated Press: Abortion stance could haunt Casey in Senate bid

But like Santorum, Klink, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who helped talk Casey into running, Casey opposes abortion rights. And that could give moderate Republicans in the important Philadelphia suburban swing region one less reason to cross party lines as they did in large numbers to help elect Rendell in 2002.

Casey is unlikely to avoid the abortion question even in the Democratic primary.

Despite Rendell's attempts to clean house, at least one candidate who favors abortion rights has vowed to compete against Casey in the primary — Charles F. "Chuck" Pennacchio, 45, a history professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A longtime Democratic organizer, Pennacchio has not run for office before but said his campaign has raised about $25,000 so far.

While Pennacchio's campaign is more about using the power of the Internet and low-key "meet-ups" with the candidate to promote grass roots activism within the party, a spokesman said Pennacchio definitely will raise the subject of abortion in the primary campaign.

"It's an issue that voters in the Democratic primary are concerned about," said the spokesman, Tim Tagaris, citing Senate Democrats' efforts to block judicial nominees who oppose abortion.

Yes, that is Swing State Project contributor Tim Tagaris getting the nationwide ink. Earlier this week, Tagaris was referred to as a blogging guru in the Pennsylvania press.

The AP article gives the history:

Ron Klink's experience is Bob Casey's bad dream.

Klink, a onetime TV news anchorman in Pittsburgh and a longtime congressman, lost the 2000 U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum after a campaign that failed for various reasons to gain traction. [...]

In the general election campaign, Klink said, national party leaders' promises of financial and field support failed to materialize. [...]

Klink said he was proud to be a "Casey Democrat" — a reference to Casey's father, the late governor, whose strong views made him a national hero to the anti-abortion movement. He bitterly recalled being portrayed as "Santorum Light" during the 2000 primary because of his abortion stance and blamed his defeat partly on Democrats who refused to vote for him for that reason.

By a 2:1 margin, Pennsylvania Democrats prefer a pro-choice candidate. The worry about moderate Republicans and Independents not supporting Casey is born not just from history, but also from the fact that 40% of Republicans and 54% of Independents also prefer pro-choice candidates. This is something people notice.

If Tagaris says it is going to be an issue, then it is going to be an issue. The national attention to the issue signals that it will be heard and the polling suggests it may play a major role. No wonder, "haunt" was the word used in the headline.

Posted at 08:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati



Thanks for the footprint using the word, "blogging guru." As if I wasn't embarassed enough by that characertization.


The Mad Druid. (Tim)

Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 2, 2005 09:17 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It might take a while before you live that one down. Nice quote, I like the pivot from abortion to judges.

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 2, 2005 10:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

What are the odds Pennacchio may run as a Indendent in the general election? That could really hurt Casey. Someone should talk some sense into Pennacchio and get him to drop out of the primary.

Posted by: nickshepDEM [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 2, 2005 10:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

That really would hurt Casey Jr. if Chuck ran as an independent in the general, but I wouldn't worry about it.

Chuck is either going to run as the Democrat against Rick Santorum in the General election, or help campaign for Bob Casey Jr. if Bobby wins the primary.

That is everyones number 1 goal, defeating Rick Santorum.


Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2005 12:07 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

My question is, has Casey promised to work to end legal abortion, or does he take a more moderate tack -- simialr to the so-called "culture of life" our Pres talks about?

How does he stand on other related issues? Here in Colorado the right-wing of the Republican party is trying to block rape victims from getting emergency contraception, for example. I can't imagine any Democrat taking such a position.

I've always thought Democrats would do well to choose candidates who are more mdoerate on abortion -- generally pro-choice but looking at both sides of the issue in their policy proposals -- but going all the way to the right would, as you say, alienate not just the base but moderate Independents and Republicans in a fairly blue state ...

Posted by: mcittone [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2005 03:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Take a look at the the April 18 Inquirer article at
comparing Casey, Santorum, and Pennacchio on these issues. Casey "would oppose expanding federally supported embryonic stem-cell research beyond 2001 levels. He would not require pharmacists to go against personal beliefs and fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives, which prevent a fertilized egg from implanting." Casey is more like Santorum than I would have dreamed.

Posted by: progblogr [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 24, 2005 12:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment