It is all too rare to find a Congressional candidate running on a consistent life ethic platform. It was encouraging, therefore, to look at the Web site of John McColgan, Democratic nominee in Oregon Congressional District 2, and find that he promises to:
Challenge any threat to the sanctity of human life, including war, euthanasia, cloning, abortion, and capital punishment
McColgan is challenging incumbent Rep. Greg Walden (R), who doesn't have a consistent record on abortion, let alone a good position on the range of life issues. Planned Parenthood reports that Walden supported its preferred position 50% of the time in the period 1995-2003.
McColgan faces a tough battle in this generally Republican district. The Democratic candidate in 2002 got only 26% of the vote. Interest groups generally put their resources into districts which are historically closely contested. But it seems to me consistent life ethic advocates need to look to supporting nominees anywhere who boldly proclaim our views and are attractive candidates. If we can provide the resources to allow such candidates to get a good hearing before the voters, perhaps we can show that progressive pro-life Democratic candidates can do better in difficult districts than the more general run of Democratic politicians.
Oregon may be a particularly friendly place for consistent life ethic candidates. It sent Mark Hatfield, one of the most eloquent supporters of the consistent life ethic position in political life in the last century, to the Senate for several terms.
Today, the wing of the Republican Party that Sen. Hatfield came from is largely defunct. The Democratic Party is today the more logical choice for consistent life ethic advocates. While its leadership has been hostile, there are millions of Democrats at the grass roots who want to see the lives of the unborn protected. And there are many pro-life advocates who switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party over the abortion issue who could be won back by pro-life Democratic candidates.