Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pre-Caucus Update - Candidate Positions on Personhood & Life Issues

Note: 2014 Candidate Information (the information below is obsolete - from 2010)

Warning! -- Colorado Right to Life pulls no punches! You will see relatively conservative Republican candidates called out on these pages for not being sufficiently pro-life. If we ignore Democrats, and focus on Republicans, it's only because Democrats can be assumed to be pro-abortion unless otherwise noted, and because Republican candidates have a higher responsibility to support individual freedoms such as the Right to Life, and also because too many voters assume Republicans are pro-life.

One thing Colorado Right to Life has emphasized over the last few years is that candidates will lie about being pro-life -- voters CANNOT assume a Republican is pro-life, even if they say they are.

If a candidate says they’re pro-life, ask if they support the Personhood Initiative – that’s a good rule of thumb, because if they don’t support Personhood, then they do not believe in a God-given Right to Life from the moment of their biological development (i.e. conception/fertilization) and thereafter.

There are many levels of “pro-life” which candidates use, some of which are no more genuine than Bill Ritter or John Kerry, who may be “personally pro-life” but they’re politically supportive of abortion in at least some cases. Any candidate who believes abortion is okay for any reason is “pro-abortion with exceptions.”

Therefore, please note: The fact that a candidate self-identifies as “pro-life” or even the fact that we refer to them as “reasonably pro-life” or “substantially pro-life”, or having a “pro-life voting record” does NOT mean that CRTL endorses them, or even approves of them. There are many candidates who are in agreement with us on 80 or 90% of issues but who differ with us substantially on one or more issues which contradict their "pro-life" claims. Someone who supports embryonic destruction (i.e. Embyronic Stem Cell Research) is NOT pro-life -- they support the killing of some unborn children!

If a candidate says they support Personhood, and answers 6 out of 7 of our survey questions correctly, but have a reservation or opposition on one item, we may still consider them pro-life and worthy of support, or we may believe that one issue is such a “deal-breaker” so that we will not support them. We may even recommend pro-life voters not vote for them!

Unfortunately, pending discussions, this may be the case for one or more candidate for Governor of Colorado – as it stands now, neither leading candidate has provided sufficient assurances they will protect all unborn children, though we hope to get at least one of them to bring their views into accord with ours.

Remember that we cannot always say a candidate isn't pro-life just because they have not answered our candidate survey – last election there were several clearly pro-Personhood candidates who did not respond. Excuses are many, including that they did not receive the e-mail or letter, did not see it (we only send return-receipt for major office candidates, and then only late in the campaign), don’t respond to surveys as policy (not uncommon, and reasonably understandable) or just don’t have time to respond to surveys.

Our surveys this year were sent to legislative candidates late, because we have been 100% focused on the Personhood Initiative, which is almost on the ballot but not quite. We have not surveyed all offices at all levels (not sheriff or commissioner candidates, for instance), including candidates for Secretary of State, etc.

We also have not sent to very many third-party candidates yet, because most of them do not face primary opposition (i.e. their candidacy can safely be judged later).

Personhood – support for the God-given Right to Life from the beginning of a human’s biological development until natural death – is CRTL’s only real standard for judging a candidate’s qualifications, though we do challenge candidates on several questions which relate closely to Personhood but which may be considered separate issues.

(candidate names are in no particular order -- being listed first does NOT mean we favor them!)

Candidates Whose Positions We Know (More or Less):


John Hickenlooper (D) is known to be pro-abortion.

Scott McInnis (R – Former Congressman) is the establishment candidate who the GOP thinks is “the man to beat Hickenlooper,” and he’s running as a pro-life candidate. However, CRTL has a deep skepticism as to whether his pro-life stand is sincere. He claims to have a “pro-life voting record,” but many in the pro-life movement remember him as a pro-choice candidate on at least some issues (he was what we call “pro-abortion with exceptions” when in Congress).

National Right to Life (NRTL – no current affiliation with Colorado Right to Life) scored him at 94% or 100% in each of his last 5 terms in office, however, NRTL is known to “rig” their scorecards to support Republicans even if they are substantially pro-abortion. For instance, no candidate was ever scored up or down by NRTL based on their support of a Human Life Amendment – a candidate could have (and many did) voted against every instance when an HLA (basically, Personhood) was brought to a vote, and NRTL would still consider them “pro-life.” NRTL rarely considers support for embryonic stem cell research or chemical abortifacients as a disqualifier for 100% ratings. Scott McInnis also missed several of the votes NRTL scored (avoiding being graded down), and McInnis supported at least some taxpayer funding for abortions under military health plans, etc. Pro-life activists remember times when McInnis refused to support certain proposed pro-life legislation.

McInnis claims to have “changed” over the years, as he’s grown older and has grandchildren, etc. Pro-life campaign workers have vouched for him (but they would – they’re employed by him, and campaigns carry a certain degree of “hero worship” with all volunteers).

In speaking with a CRTL activist at a recent meeting, McInnis gave these cryptic responses: 1) he will not sign the Personhood petition (“we’re not signing petitions”), 2) he won’t publicly endorse Personhood, 3) he does support Personhood (this was a private statement to an activist – not an official statement), and he has told others to support Personhood. What you make of that odd mix depends on how much you trust his sincerity. Why he would “support Personhood” but not sign the petition or endorse it is confusing. And why he would tell others to support it while not endorsing it himself is also strange.

As the campaign moves forward, it’s possible he will agree to speak with CRTL officially, and perhaps he will change his mind. As it is, we must regard his “pro-life credentials” as suspect, and perhaps motivated by his election-year need for support from pro-lifers who have shown impressive strength in recent elections.

Dan Maes (R) is considered by many to be McInnis’ most realistic conservative rival. He has signed the Personhood petition, and he has responded to CRTL’s survey, which is a promising sign just by itself. However, there are some potentially major “issues” with his survey responses and other statements.

Maes answered 6 of our 7 questions correctly, and genuinely appears to support a Right to Life from conception to natural death. However, we’re concerned by statements such as “Roe v. Wade is the law of the land” and we’re puzzled by his survey answer on Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR), where he answered “No” to whether he would oppose it.

In a phone conversation to clarify with a CRTL activist, Maes said he is opposed to ESCR except for those embryos already slated for destruction (i.e. similar to Pres. Bush’s quirky position of “no new embryos” but allowing medical experimentation on “existing lines”). CRTL has explained to him that this is like saying “you can’t imprison more Jews, but you can experiment on the ones already sentenced to death.”

Hopefully, he will reply back on that issue, and we very much hope that he will change his mind on that survey question and will become a “7 of 7” candidate – fully supportive of Personhood.

A wrong answer on ESCR, of course, means that the candidate doesn’t fully understand the concept of Personhood, which should protect any existing embryos from destructive medical experimentation, whether they’re “slated for destruction” or not.

Maes is new to the political scene, and as with many legislative candidates may not have had time to solidify his answers on all nuances of every policy. CRTL will work with him on this, but cannot recommend pro-lifers support him unless this matter is cleared up.

Republican candidate Yoon Mager’s website suggests she is “pro-abortion with exceptions” – i.e. that she supports some regulations or limits on abortion, but is otherwise supportive of the option.

Constitution Party candidate Ben Goss is known to be a strong supporter of Personhood, and has signed the Personhood petition. He hasn’t had time to reply to the CRTL issue survey.

There are other Republican candidates who we cannot find information on, or who do not have properly available contact information.

Secretary of State

This is an office where candidates will typically not take a position on anything but job-related skills. However, CRTL has reason to believe that both Republican candidates – Nancy Doty and Scott Gessler – are at least substantially pro-life, and presumably open to Personhood. We don’t have commitments from either. If either would like to fill out our survey, we welcome their responses.

Democrat incumbent Bernie Buescher is known to be pro-abortion.


This is another office where candidates usually stick to non-controversial job-skill-related competition, but this year an exception has occurred. There are three Republican candidates for Treasurer, and two of them have gotten into an exciting public contest to establish who is more pro-life!

Both JJ Ament and Ali Hasan claim to be pro-life. Ali Hasan has signed the Personhood petition, and has publicly recommended that “everyone” should sign it. JJ Ament asked for information on the Personhood Initiative, and a CRTL activist is awaiting a callback as to whether he will support the measure or not (he still has 2 days before it’s too late to sign the petition, too!). Ament seemed like he was very open to supporting Personhood, and just wanted to examine the particulars. His father, a well-known politician, was known to be pro-choice, but there’s nothing which says his son can’t be pro-life. We’ll let you know when we hear from him, for sure.

However, Ali Hasan has changed his mind also. Ament claims that until several months ago, Hasan supported all but late term abortions. CRTL has evidence that this is so, because Hasan responded to CRTL’s survey in 2008 (listed as Muhammad Ali Hasan in HD 56), answering only 2 of the 7 questions correctly. At that time, he said he respected our organization and was willing to dialogue with us on the issues – perhaps he’s given his positions some thought and has sincerely changed those positions which were at odds with ours. We hope this is so, but as with any candidate who claims to have abruptly changed his position on a controversial issue at election time, we should carefully consider before extending support. (*** see 6:30 update, below, for clarification on his position from Ali Hasan)

CRTL intends to work with both candidates (and Mr. Stapleton too, though we have not heard from him) on these issues.

This office is historically important because the Treasurer often becomes a stepping stone to the Governor's Office (Govs. Lamm, Romer and Owens, for instance).

Attorney General

Republican incumbent John Suthers says he is pro-life, but he publicly opposes the Personhood Initiative, preferring incremental regulatory limits.

Suthers’ office also did not cooperate with a request from pro-life groups to investigate Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for failure to report teenage and pre-teen patients as possible rape cases (it is state law that underage pregnancies should be reported if there is a possibility that sexual abuse was involved).

US Senate

Michael Bennet (D) is clearly pro-abortion, supports federal funding, Obama’s health care, etc.

Tom Wiens (R) has a pro-life voting record, has attended CRTL functions in the past, and will probably support Personhood, though when approached about it he asked for information and said he would look at it – we expect him to support Personhood, based on past experience, but he has not confirmed yet (please ask him to!).

Ken Buck (R) is a strong candidate we consider very strongly pro-life and pro-Personhood, based on conversations with him. He is on record as supporting Personhood, though we are still waiting for him to return his candidate questionnaire.

Jane Norton (R) was non-committal when asked about Personhood, avoiding commitments on several occasions. We are trying to meet with her, but have not gotten on her schedule yet.

As a cabinet officer in the Owens administration, she did end taxpayer funding for abortion services, and we commend her for that.

However, she is known to support abortion in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother (exceptions which CRTL opposes – see ), which automatically puts her at odds with the Personhood position of a Right to Life for every child from the beginning of biological development.


Cleve Tidwell (R) has responded to our survey, and answered correctly on 7 of 7 questions – he is strongly pro-Personhood. His responses to some other surveys on these issues are not as solid, but if he seems to do well in the next few days we will spend time with him to confirm his answers.

Steve Barton (R) has signed the Personhood petition, endorses Personhood, and appears to be strongly pro-Personhood.

1st Congressional District

Diana DeGette (D) is one of the most pro-abortion women in Congress. We believe there is a candidate named George Lilly running against her (Republican or Constitution Party), but we cannot find contact information.

2nd Congressional District

Again, Democrat incumbent Jared Polis is known to strongly support abortion.

Two Republicans and a Libertarian are known to be running also, but their positions on life issues are unknown. They may not have had time to respond – please help us with the process of garnering information if you know more than we do about their positions, or if you know them and can ask them to respond.

3rd Congressional District

Democrat incumbent John Salazar supports abortion.

Scott Tipton (R) has not had time to respond to our survey (he did not respond at all in 2008, though – a bad sign). Please encourage him to respond to the survey and prove our doubts wrong!

Bob McConnell (R) has responded to CRTL’s survey, and he answered 6 of 7 questions correctly – his only reservation was on the matter of supporting “regulatory” laws (which CRTL believes actually undermine the concept of Personhood, even though many pro-lifers believe regulations “save some babies”). This is a long-term discussion, and CRTL has been trying to educate the pro-life movement over a number of years, but many politicians still believe regulations are pro-life. On this particular matter, we believe strongly in a candidates’ good intentions, and we will attempt to work with the candidate to change their opinion eventually.

4th Congressional District

Democrat incumbent Betsy Markey defeated pro-Personhood Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave in 2008 using a pro-abortion, anti-social-conservative platform.

We first sent surveys to CD4 candidates in November, and both Cory Gardner (R) and Tom Lucero (R) quickly answered back with pro-Personhood “7 of 7” survey responses. Neither candidate indicated any reservations or exceptions to their support of Personhood – CRTL believes it is very promising to have two (and perhaps more) such strongly pro-life candidates in this race!

Cory Gardner also has a pro-life voting record (Tom Lucero has not been in a position to vote on life issues), Gardner was one of the standout legislators who have attended CRTL functions (legislative luncheons) in the past, and who supported Personhood at a press conference in 2008.

Gardner does have a record of supporting abortion regulations – i.e. “pro-life” legislation which means well but which may have unintended consequences – but as with other candidates this is something we regard as a matter of education and we will continue to work with Gardner on this.

He has indicated he will not support regulations in the future, and we will hold him to that.

The other two Republican candidates – Diggs Brown and Dean Madere – had not announced when we sent our first surveys, and they may not have had time to respond. Neither indicates a pro-life stance on their websites (if you know differently, please let us know).

Mike Nelson is a Unity Party candidate, and he responded to our survey that in no uncertain terms he supports “abortion rights” 100%. He is clearly hostile to the concept of Personhood.

5th Congressional District

To the best of our knowledge, pro-Personhood Congressman Doug Lamborn is running without primary opposition this year. While he has not yet responded to our survey, he has supported Personhood (Human Life Amendment) legislation at the national level and we are confident his support will continue.

6th Congressional District

Incumbent Republican Mike Coffman ran on a strong pro-Personhood platform in 2008, and we have no reason to believe that has changed

7th Congressional District

Democrat incumbent Ed Perlmutter is pro-abortion.

Republican Ryan Frazier has not responded to CRTL’s candidate survey, even after repeated requests over 5 months’ time. He is believed to be either pro-choice or not sufficiently pro-life in his stands, but we would love to hear if someone has evidence to the contrary. We’d love it even more if someone would ask him to return his survey!

There are other Republican candidates running, but they may not have had time to respond since many of them only entered recently.

Pro-Personhood candidate Jimmy Lakey, who quickly responded in November with a “7 of 7” survey record, has unfortunately decided not to continue in the race.

State Senate District 1

Sen. Greg Brophy (R) has a strong record of supporting Personhood (though like all other current pro-life officeholders, he also supports regulating abortion – we will continue efforts to change his mind). He has not returned his candidate survey yet, but we hope someone will remind him!

State Senate District 2

In a 3-way Republican primary, we do not yet have information on 2 of the candidates (Matt Heimerich and Talon Canterbury), but candidate Kevin Grantham’s website cites a pro-Personhood “life at fertilization” stand. If you know any of these candidates, please encourage them to return their CRTL surveys as soon as possible!

State Senate District 6

Unfortunately, Republican candidate Ellen Roberts (state representative) has a very bad record on abortion issues, having opposed CRTL’s position on several bills in the 2007-2008 legislation session. She is clearly NOT pro-life!

State Senate District 7

Republican candidate Steve King (state representative) voted in favor of “emergency contraception” (i.e. an abortifacient like Plan B or RU-486, which is intended to kill an already-conceived human child) in 2007. It’s his only black mark we’re aware of (we have not yet calculated the 2009-2010 legislative scorecard), but it’s not a good sign.

Senate District 9

This district features a primary contest between two Republicans of decidedly opposite persuasions.

Rep. Kent Lambert (R) is running for Sen. Schultheis’ senate seat. Lambert is one of the strongest pro-life votes in the legislature, and is pro-Personhood. Sadly he, along with all other current pro-life legislative officeholders, is still supporting regulations, but we hope he will change his mind if he wins this seat. We are hopeful.

His opponent, Thomas McDowell’s, only reason to run seems to be that he has a chip on his shoulder about pro-life legislators like Lambert and Schultheis, and he’s made opposition to Christians and socially conservative positions a centerpiece of his campaign.

Senate District 13

Sen. Scott Renfroe (R) is running for re-election. We believe Renfroe is the only current legislator who has run an actual pro-Personhood bill. Renfroe is very supportive of Personhood, and even took time from his busy day to oversee the petitions being turned in to the Sec. State’s office in 2008. Pro-life issues are central to his political philosophy.

Senate District 15

Two Republicans and two Democrats are running for this seat.

Rep. Kevin Lundberg is known as a strong leader of Colorado’s pro-life contingent in the legislature. Again, he’s not yet renounced regulations, but in 2008 he was honest about his continuing support for regulations, but also strongly supported Personhood. We remain hopeful that he will change his mind about regulations. He answered correctly on 6 of 7 questions (i.e. except for regulations) in 2008, and we’re waiting to hear from him on his 2010 survey.

Senate District 16

Two Republicans and two Democrats are running for this seat also.

One of the Republican candidates is former CRTL board member Tim Leonard, who has also run for Governor previously on the Constitution Party ticket. In the past, Leonard has supported Personhood, and we expect that he will continue to do so. We do await his candidate survey responses.

Senate District 22

Sen. Mike Kopp supports Personhood, but also supports regulations. We hope to work with him in the coming year on that issue.

Senate District 30

Sen. Ted Harvey supports Personhood, but also supports regulations. We hope to work with him in the coming year on that issue.

Remember – because CRTL believes “pro-life” regulatory measures promote the impression that abortion is approved by the state, and may have unintended consequences which could support abortion and undermine the concept of a Right to Life, CRTL does not believe “pro-regulation” legislators fully understand the Personhood concept, though we still believe they are sincere and well-meaning in their pro-life convictions.

There may be other senate candidates whose websites indicate a pro-life or pro-Personhood position. We have not had much time to research this, as we’ve been focused on the ballot initiative signature gathering process. If you have information on a candidate, please let us know by e-mailing office@coloradorighttolife.org.

State House District 5

This is a very odd race. Four Democrats are competing against each other in a primary. One of them is JJ Swiontek, who ran in 2008 as a Republican and who at that time answered the CRTL survey with a “7 of 7” pro-Personhood record! http://www.coloradorighttolife.org/Candidate%20Questionnaire.html

Now, we cannot be confident that he still holds those positions – has his conversion to the Democrat Party changed his outlook? But it’s at least possible that one of the Democrat candidates is still pro-Personhood. Whether his opinions have changed or not, it is a reasonable choice for him to run as a Democrat, since this district is heavily leaning in that direction, and because he has a fair chance to win in a 4-way race, even if most Democrats don’t trust him because of his party switch.

This will be an interesting one to watch!

State House District 14

Dr. Janak Joshi is the Republican candidate for this seat. His website indicates that he is pro-life because he is a doctor – if only more doctors felt that way!

We have no information as to whether he supports the Personhood Initiative. If you have information, we would welcome your help. Also, please encourage him to return his CRTL candidate survey so we can establish his positions for sure.

State House District 15

Rep. Mark Waller (R) is running for re-election. In the 2008 race his pro-life credentials were not very well established (his opponent in the primary was pro-Personhood), but he claims to be pro-life. He seems ambivalent about the Personhood Initiative, and we have no reason to believe he is now, or ever will support it.

Please encourage Rep. Waller to return his CRTL survey, and to support (or even sign) the Personhood Initiative.

State House District 17

There is a clear contrast here between two Republican candidates. Kit Roupe is well known to be “pro-choice” (pro-abortion) by her own admission.

Her opponent, Mark Barker, has signed the Personhood petition, supports Personhood, and regards it as one of the most important principles to be upheld by an officeholder. We do not yet have Barker’s candidate survey (he has not had much time to respond), but we expect to get a favorable reply back soon. Please encourage him to return the survey when he can.

State House District 18

Republican candidate Karen Cullen seemed unfamiliar with pro-life concepts, and didn’t exactly jump to call herself pro-life when quizzed at a candidate forum a week ago. She also flatly refused to support the Personhood Initiative (a Constitutional amendment) because she believes in “a clean Constitution.”

It is possible that she was entirely misunderstood, and she may believe she is pro-life. If so, it is important that she establish this by returning her candidate survey. Also, we hope that she will be open to dialogue, and will realize the relative moral importance of maintaining a “clean Constitution” versus saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn children who are being murdered. Perhaps some people who know her can talk her into changing her mind!

State House District 28

Rep. Jim Kerr (R) is running for re-election. He has always called himself pro-life, and seems to have been sincere in meaning well. While CRTL has been concerned that he was not strongly pro-life in the past, and he did also support the 2007 “emergency contraception” legislation, we are encouraged to note that he signed the 2010 Personhood Initiative petition (one of at least 4 legislators to join the 2010 effort who did not publicly support the 2008 effort!) which seems to indicate he has shifted to be more solidly pro-life. Please pray for Jim and his stance on these issues, and encourage him to return his CRTL candidate survey.

State House District 32

Here is another clear contest between philosophies within the Republican Party.

Candidate Andrew Goad (R) has said “I would not vote to make abortion illegal,” and to all appearances is running as a pro-abortion candidate (perhaps supporting some limits).

Opponent Kaarl Hoopes (R) has signed the Personhood Initiative petition, and appears to be very strongly pro-life.

Neither candidate has had much time to return their candidate surveys, but if you know them please encourage them to do so.

State House District 44

Republican Minority Leader Mike May’s departure has caused a busy primary to replace him. We understand candidate Dustin Zvonek has decided not to run for this seat, leaving three Republican primary contenders.

The candidates have not had much time to respond to the CRTL candidate survey, but one candidate – Chris Holbert – quickly returned his survey with “7 of 7” pro-Personhood answers marked. We hope to hear soon that some or all of the others are as strongly pro-life.

State House District 46

The only Republican running in this district is Steven Rodriguez, who quickly answered CRTL’s survey with a “7 of 7” pro-Personhood response.

State House District 49

Rep. BJ Nikkel (R) is running for election to a seat she was appointed to mid-term – 1 year ago. She is one of the “new faces” on the steps of the Capitol at pro-life events, and she is supporting Personhood. We haven’t received her survey yet, but we’re hopeful that she will develop into a strong pro-life leader.

Nikkel has a primary opponent – Ray Walter, who we have no information on. Conventional wisdom from the history of Republican politics suggests that if he’s running against a pro-life candidate, there’s a likelihood he is pro-choice, but without more solid information it’s unfair to make a judgment to that effect. We would welcome any more information, pro or con.

Please encourage both candidates to return their candidate surveys.

State House District 65

Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R) is running for re-election, so far unopposed. He is another of the strongly pro-life legislators who is pro-Personhood.

Remember – because CRTL believes “pro-life” regulatory measures promote the impression that abortion is approved by the state, and may have unintended consequences which could support abortion and undermine the concept of a Right to Life, CRTL does not believe “pro-regulation” legislators fully understand the Personhood concept, though we still believe they are sincere and well-meaning in their pro-life convictions.

There may be other house candidates whose websites indicate a pro-life or pro-Personhood position. We have not had much time to research this, as we’ve been focused on the ballot initiative signature gathering process. If you have information on a candidate, please let us know by e-mailing office@coloradorighttolife.org.

If you have any questions about this information -- or if you have information to add -- please contact Donna at Colorado Right to Life (303-753-9394) or at office@coloradoRTL.org. Please don't be angry with her, if that's why you're calling, because she didn't collect or post this information. We are very interested in correcting any errors of fact or judgment on these pages, so please help us make this as correct as it can be (we will require verification of some type if your information contradicts the information we have).

Update (6:30) - From Ali Hasan, to clarify his position (which sounds like it is similar to his "2 or 3 out of 7" position from 2008) -- we appreciate his honest answer, and will continue to dialogue with him in coming years. Thank you.

Here are my important stances:
1. Personhood - I did sign the Personhood petition, for the sake of getting that initiative onto the ballot.
2. Planned Parenthood - I do not support subsidizing abortions by sending money to Planned Parenthood.
3. Euthanasia - I am completely against all forms of euthanasia.

I hope that helps - peace and love to you and God Bless!

Ali Hasan
Republican Candidate for State Treasurer

1 comment:

Miranda Rat said...

From Diggs Brown's site: "I am pro-life, and I believe in the sanctity of all human life."