The Hill: Defeated Ellsworth was one election target of abortion opponents

This article originally appeared on on November 2, 2010.


Defeated Ellsworth was one election target of abortion opponents
By Julian Pecquet

The Susan B. Anthony List, infuriated by Rep. Brad Ellsworth’s (D) vote for health reform, lost no time Tuesday night in applauding his defeat.

“Indiana voters proved that Members of Congress who finesse or ignore the deeply held values of their constituents lose their title ‘Representative’ in principle and in fact,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

Ellsworth, who was running for Evan Bayh’s (D) Senate seat, lost to Republican Dan Coats. He was one of six ‘Tier One’ Democrats targeted by the SBA List.

The New York Times has called the race for Coats, who is ahead 54.9 percent to 39.4 percent with 44 percent of precincts reporting.

It’s possible that as few as one of the 19 Democrats targeted by the prominent anti-abortion rights group could end up returning to Congress next year, according to a review of Cook Political Report data reviewed by The Hill.

The SBA List has spent $3.1 million “Votes Have Consequences” campaign, which targets self-described “pro-life” Democrats in vulnerable districts. Two of the six ‘Tier One’ candidates never even made it to tonight’s election: Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) retired after his vote provoked an avalanche of criticism from anti-abortion rights groups, and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.V.) was defeated in the Democratic primary by the more conservative Rep. Mike Oliverio, who has called for the health overhaul to be “amended.”

The other ‘Tier One’ candidates — Reps. Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) — are all in trouble.

SBA’s ads against Driehaus garnered national attention when the lawmaker complained about them to the Ohio Elections Commission. The commission is expected to rule after the elections on whether the ads’ message claiming that Driehaus “voted for taxpayer-funded abortion” violates the state’s restrictions on “false statements.”

Of the 13 ‘Tier Two’ targets, only Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) appears home free. The seats held by Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Nick Rahall (W.V.), Dennis Cardoza (Calif.), John Salazar (Col.), Jim Oberstar (Minn.), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), John Boccieri (Ohio), Chris Carney (Pa.), John Spratt (S.C.) and Ciro Rodriguez (Texas) are all in play.

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