***UPDATE: Please Note (July 21): In just a few days, we will be updating some of this information on candidates, including Ken Buck (positive information), Dan Maes (positive information), Scott McInnis (negative information), Ryan Frazier (negative information) and Scott Tipton (negative information). Please hold onto your ballots for just a few days to see this new information in case it might affect your vote. In short, not every candidate who claims to be pro-life has been telling the whole story.***
This is a comprehensive list of all the information Colorado Right to Life has about the candidates running for office in the Colorado Caucus, Assembly & Primary season. We had published two previous releases of information on the candidates, in March and in April. The useful, updated information from both is included here, and we ask that you please consider this to supersede any older material.
If you're coming to the Colorado State Republican Assembly Saturday, or to any of the Congressional or legislative assemblies on Friday, please stop by our Personhood booth! We will also have representatives at the Sarah Palin event this weekend.
A brief, necessary introduction:
Colorado Right to Life pulls no punches -- if we have doubts about a candidate's sincerity, we'll tell you. The old definition of "pro-life" won't work. Personhood is the new definition -- a Right to Life from the beginning of biological development until natural death. No exceptions for rape or incest (if you have a Right to Life, it is inviolable). We also ask candidates not to "regulate" abortion, because a regulation implies a "right" to do whatever is being regulated (i.e. abortion). Candidates and legislators have been slow to adapt to these new definitions and stands, but they are definitely changing. Here are the questions they were asked in our survey: http://www.coloradorighttolife.org/candidate-survey (at the bottom is also an explanation of our anti-regulation position, as well as a policy statement on "life of the mother" exceptions).
Personhood has been an issue in Colorado for only 2 years now -- it was first on the ballot in 2008, and is again on the ballot in 2010 (as Amendment 62 -- plus, it will soon be on the ballot in other states also, such as Mississippi in 2011). Don't accept a candidate who self-identifies as pro-life but who won't support Personhood, or won't respond to the Colorado Right to Life Candidate Survey. Someone who says they are pro-life but they have exceptions, or aren't willing to enact their pro-life principles in law are "pro-abortion with exceptions." Personhood IS the Right to Life -- someone who does not support Personhood does not support recognizing a God-given Right to Life in law!
In 2008, most major candidates were unwilling to take a stand on Personhood. It's possible that Bob Schaffer, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, lost because he did not endorse Personhood, and many voters did not consider him sufficiently pro-life. By contrast, in 2010, every credible Republican candidate for top statewide offices has said they support Personhood, and most of the credible Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and Congress have also expressed support for Personhood. Source: http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/prolife_measures_support_reviv
While we are excited that all these candidates support Personhood publicly, we question the sincerity of some, who may only be endorsing Personhood for reasons of political expediency (to avoid Schaffer's fate, perhaps?). Candidate Ali Hasan, for instance, encourages support for Personhood, and uses that as a reason people should vote for him and his principles. However, Hasan does not actually support the concept of Personhood -- he supports killing some children by abortion, for a variety of reasons, and may even support abortion until the 6th month of pregnancy!
Former Congressman Scott McInnis was formerly a ranking member of Republicans for Choice (a pro-abortion Republican group), and is known to have opposed pro-life measures and supported pro-abortion measures (even public funding) in the past. He says he has "changed his mind," but he was slow to endorse Personhood, and has made no firm pledges to do more than cut off public funding and end Partial Birth Abortion. We are naturally suspicious, but if he is really a convert we hope to see real commitments from him. Until then, Colorado Right to Life naturally prefers voters to support candidates who are known to have made solid pro-life statements or commitments (like responding to our survey).
We do not assume any candidate is pro-life unless they've responded to our candidate survey, or we have some other reason to trust their positions are sincere. CRTL does not officially endorse candidates for any office, but we will let you know which ones are NOT pro-life, and try to offer guidance on the rest. Please, NEVER assume a candidate is pro-life because of their party affiliation! CRTL does not support candidates from any particular political party -- if a candidate from the Constitution Party or even the Democrat Party is pro-life, we will let you know. We do not ever recommend voting for the "lesser of two evils" because we stand on very important principles which we will not compromise for purposes of political expediency.
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.
A final note: Because of our principled stand, many of our past financial supporters consider us extreme. If you appreciate our uncompromising principles in favor of a real, God-given Right to Life for all Persons, no exceptions, please consider supporting us financially. Most organizations do not hold to their principles because it's not profitable. That's not a reasonable excuse, and we will not follow, but there are consequences for standing up for what's right. Donations can be accepted here: http://www.coloradorighttolife.org/donate
Here is what we know about the candidates running for office in Colorado. We cannot assume that a candidate is not pro-life just because they haven't responded to our survey, but we really don't know for sure. We are suspicious of any candidate who does not respond to our survey, and we hope you will be too. Encourage them to respond to the survey and refuse to support them if they don't. Our Survey has 7 questions, and response to 6 or 7 questions correctly (depending which ones) tell us that we're working with someone who has tremendous potential to be a leader, and who is close to being consistent on the God-given Right to Life. Though we have hesitations about candidates who respond to the "regulation" question incorrectly (because these candidates are willing to support "bad law" that will entrench the concept of abortion "rights" in this country despite the intent being to limit abortion), we will continue to work with them to explain the full Personhood concept and why "exceptions" and "regulations" were the cited reason for Roe v. Wade in the first place.
We have made serious efforts to reach most candidates for major offices, and if they have not responded that probably means they've ignored at least two attempts to contact them. Legislative candidates have all been e-mailed at least once, unless we had reason to believe they were pro-abortion.
Michael Bennet (D) is clearly pro-abortion, supports federal funding, Obama's health care, etc.
Andrew Romanoff (D) is also pro-abortion, supports Obama's health care, etc.
Republican Ken Buck is a credible candidate we consider very strongly pro-life and pro-Personhood, based on conversations with him. He is on record supporting Personhood, though we have not received his candidate questionnaire.
Republican Jane Norton has supported "abortion exceptions" in the past (i.e. for rape & incest, which is from our perspective "pro-abortion with exceptions"), and for some time refused to support Personhood. She was scheduled to meet with someone about Personhood, but the meeting hasn't happened yet despite every effort. However, she has apparently endorsed Personhood recently, along with the other Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. Questions to her campaign to confirm this went unanswered, and she has not responded to our survey, sent by certified letter, and she's had enough time to respond.
Again, we must question Jane Norton's sincerity on this issue, because she has seemed more reluctant than willing. She did participate in Gov. Owens' cutoff of Planned Parenthood from state funding, and we applaud her actions on that (as a cabinet member). She also is rumored to soon be endorsed by Sarah Palin, though that's certainly no indicator of pro-life status (Palin also endorsed John McCain against a pro-life opponent, despite McCain's long checkered history of occasional support for abortion and continued support for embryonic destruction, which Palin joined in endorsing).
Republican Cleve Tidwell has responded to our survey, and answered correctly on 7 of 7 questions -- he is strongly pro-Personhood. His responses to some other surveys were not as solid, but we believe he is sincere. He took the initiative to respond quickly to our survey, and we appreciate that he was our first respondent.
Tom Wiens (R) has traditionally been a pro-life legislator, and had promised to respond to our survey, but we haven't received it yet after a couple months of trying. He is petitioning onto the ballot, so will not be a candidate at the Assembly.
We do not have information on Maclyn Stringer, or John Finger, the two Libertarian Party candidates. Libertarians normally support abortion, but not always.
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." He is running as a pro-life candidate, but is short on meaningful specifics. He was formerly a ranking member of the pro-abortion group Republicans for Choice, and is known to have supported some pro-abortion legislation (including taxpayer funding for abortions) and to have opposed some pro-life measures. He claims to have "changed his mind" about abortion, and has even expressed support for Personhood, but he has not responded to CRTL's survey (sent by certified letter 2 weeks ago, and also several times by e-mail), and we have real doubts about his sincerity. Don't believe his claims that he has a "pro-life voting record" -- HE DOES NOT.
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 and some other notable pro-life groups are known to "rig" their scorecards to support Republicans even if they are substantially pro-abortion. NRTL rarely considers support for Embryonic Stem Cell Research a disqualifier, or support for chemical abortifacients. McInnis also missed a number of the votes NRTL scored (thus avoiding being graded down). 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 staffers).
If McInnis has really changed his mind about abortion, he needs to start making solid commitments, like more vocal support of Personhood with promises to back it up.
We were impressed when Dan Maes (R) became only the second major candidate to respond to our candidate survey. We had a question about his original survey, and in time and after some dialogue he responded with support for 7 of 7 of CRTL's central points, as explained in our candidate survey. We consider him 100% pro-life, and are happy that he is doing so well in the Governor's race -- no one gave him a chance early on, but he's turned out to be a strong and credible candidate.
There is a new Republican candidate for Governor in just the past couple of weeks. Joe Gschwendtner. On day one, he announced support for a Right to Life from conception to natural death, and responded to our survey with 6 or 7 of 7 questions answered correctly (he left some wiggle room in a response on regulation, which we'll work to clarify).
Republican candidate Yoon Mager's website suggests she is "pro-abortion with exceptions" (our words, not hers). She supports some regulations or limits on abortion, but is otherwise supportive of abortion.
Constitution Party candidate Benjamin Goss is known to be a strong supporter of Personhood, and has signed the Personhood petition and responded correctly to 7 of 7 questions on the CRTL survey.
Secretary of State
Republican candidate Nancy Doty has either dropped out or never announced for this office. The only remaining Republican we're aware of is Scott Gessler, who has not responded to our survey.
Democrat incumbent Bernie Buescher is known to be pro-abortion.
This is an office where candidates normally don't take positions on life issues, but this year a strange competition has started between two of the candidates over who is more pro-life. It's also an important office, because traditionally the Treasurer's Office is a stepping stone into the Governor's Office (Lamm, Romer, Owens).
Democrat incumbent Cary Kennedy is assumed to be pro-abortion.
Republican candidate Walker Stapleton has not responded to our survey, and we have no reason to believe he is pro-life.
Republican Ali Hasan has sent a mailer to homes encouraging support for Amendment 62, the Personhood measure. However, he also implies he is strongly pro-life, which is very misleading. In actuality, he opposes taxpayer funding and opposes euthanasia, which is good. And he signed the Personhood petition. But we have reason to believe he has done so as a means to trick voters into thinking he is strongly pro-life. His position 2 years ago, and as far as we know still today, approved of abortion through all of the first two trimesters. He did not support a Right to Life at that time, and his own recent e-mail to CRTL confirms that he would only score 3 questions correct out of 7 if he responded to our survey. Ali Hasan may support having Amendment 62 on the ballot so people can choose, but he is NOT pro-life, even by traditional Republican measures, and CRTL certainly does not want any voter to vote for him because they believe he is.
Republican JJ Ament is the son of a former legislator who was pro-choice, but there's no reason to believe his son is pro-abortion. He has not responded to our survey, however, and so far all we have is his claim that he is pro-life. CRTL has received no firm commitment. For that matter, we're not even sure if he has endorsed Personhood, as his opponent Hasan has. He did not sign the petition, despite being asked.
*** Update on JJ Ament: We're told that in a conference call yesterday (May 19) JJ was asked about Personhood and he said former Senate candidate Bob Schaffer had talked him out of supporting it, even though he is "still" pro-life. Odd that he would accept the advice of someone who lost in large part due to his refusal to support Personhood (in other words, Republicans take this seriously -- Personhood IS the new definition of pro-life, anything less isn't good enough). ***
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).
We have no reason to believe Democrat candidate Stan Garnett is not pro-abortion.
1st Congressional District
Diana DeGette (D) is one of the most pro-abortion women in Congress.
Apparently, Steve Barton (R) has switched from running for the U.S. Senate to running for the 1st Congressional District. Barton has signed the Personhood petition, and is fully supportive of Personhood.
2nd Congressional District
Democrat incumbent Jared Polis is known to strongly support abortion.
Democrat Mike Niland is assumed to be pro-abortion (running for the Democrat nomination in Boulder -- easy assumption).Republican candidate Bob Brancato responded to our survey, and supports Personhood (signed the petition) though it's not clear he understands Personhood very well. His responses are essentially 5 out of 7 correct. He still supports exceptions for rape and incest (i.e. pro-abortion with exceptions) and supports regulations. But these responses are promising for a candidate we've not had time to dialogue with. We'll keep working with him.
Republican candidate Stephen Bailey is a pro-abortion Republican. He had a conversation recently with a CRTL activist, who reported this. Bailey said he did not support a God-given Right to Life. He did not sign the Personhood petition. He opposes public funding of abortion, opposes Partial Birth Abortion, but says he would not vote to make abortion illegal "because people will still have abortions." (that's a reason?). He believes there's no consensus on abortion and it's a divisive issue, so he won't take a stand against it.
3rd Congressional District
Democrat incumbent John Salazar supports abortion.
Scott Tipton (R) has not responded to our survey (he did not respond at all in 2008 either). We have no reason to believe he is sincerely pro-life. Please encourage him to respond to the survey and prove our doubts wrong!
*** (Tipton Information just in - we are told an activist from 3rd Congressional has spoken to Scott Tipton who says he had not seen our survey - he says he is staunchly pro-life and opposes taxpayer funding - he has been re-sent the survey by e-mail and if we get his responses in coming days we will post it here as well as making a separate post - Tipton's office was sent the survey at least twice previously by e-mail, but I'm sure he gets lots of e-mail) (July 21 update -- we never heard from Tipton, he was just pandering)***
Bob McConnell (R) has responded to CRTL's survey, and he answered 6 out 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 for a number of years, but many politicians still believe reulations are pro-life. On this particular matter, we believe strongly in a candidate's 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.
Republican candidate Diggs Brown has dropped out, and we don't know much about Dean Madere except that he claims to be pro-life.
Cory Gardner (R) has been an outstanding pro-life legislator, and has attended a number of CRTL functions, including two Legislative luncheons/breakfasts (something most legislators don't attend). We value his dedication to these issues! Cory has responded to our survey with 7 of 7 questions answered correctly, without any reservations or exceptions. He supported Personhood in 2008 also.
Tom Lucero (R) also responded with 7 of 7 questions correct!
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 has a history of association with Colorado Right to Life, has responded favorably to the CRTL survey in the past with 7 of 7 responses correct. No response this year, but we don't have any reason to believe he's changed his position on Personhood.
7th Congressional District
Incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter is pro-abortion.
Republican Lang Sias has said he is pro-life, but we cannot confirm this as we have not heard from him, even after a registered letter was sent to his campaign office.
Republican Ryan Frazier claims to be pro-life BUT HE IS NOT. He supports certain limits on abortion, but is willing to go no further. He has not responded to CRTL's survey (sent several times by e-mail, and 2 weeks ago by certified letter), and we expect he would score badly if he did. Frazier speaks as if he is one of us, but he wants you to ignore statements like he made to Westword, "I am not a fan of abortion, but I struggle with whether it is the appropriate role of the government to place itself there." That's like struggling with the role of government to ban slavery. The Aurora Sentinel said, "Frazier's shown a more liberal bent in his approach on social issues, however, voicing support for same-sex couples and expressing a measured stance on government regulation of abortion." He also has ignored a registered letter to his campaign asking for his survey responses. The statements on his website and in person are cleverly worded to sound like he's on our side, but many of these same things were said by John Kerry and other pro-abortion Republicans and Democrats.
Republican candidate Mike Sheely has responded to our survey with 7 of 7 responses correct, and has also attended a Colorado Right to Life breakfast where we discussed strategy and philosophy. We value his attention to these issues.
Republican Michael Deming has said he's not sure where he stands on abortion, but would oppose federal funding. Obviously not a committed pro-life candidate.
This concludes our review of candidates for State and Federal offices. We will soon post our results for candidates for legislative (State House and Senate) offices.
Each of the Republican candidates have been contacted at least once, most of them twice by e-mail. The credible Republican candidates for Governor, Senate and 7th Congressional were sent certified letters two weeks ago to remind them we would be posting these results. Anyone in those categories who has not responded is probably ignoring us for strategic reasons, which makes us suspicious of their motives.
We have also contacted most Democrat candidates by e-mail at least once, as well as candidates for the Libertarian Party and Constitution Party, Unity Party, etc, though not all of these candidates are yet known so some may not have been contacted. The information has also been up on our website so people can respond if they look for it.
Candidates who have not responded are still welcome and encouraged to respond -- we will post them as they respond.
If you're looking for responses from Legislative candidates (State House or State Senate) that information can be found here: http://coloradorighttolife.blogspot.com/2010/05/colorado-legislative-candidate.html