Tim Drake, Senior Writer for the National Catholic Register, and who works out of his home in St Joseph, MN, has written the following for the current Register on Minnesota's Senate election campaign.
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When Mark Kennedy became a U.S. congressman six years ago, he started a Rosary group on Capitol Hill. He also gathered fellow Catholic legislators for a St. Thomas More study group.
And since then, he’s had a stellar pro-life voting record.
But in a race for the U.S. Senate, he’s losing to a pro-abortion candidate who wants to redefine marriage.
His situation, it seems, is far from unique, and that has some pro-lifers worried. Very worried.
Polls show pro-life Senate candidates Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Michael Steele of Maryland, Conrad Burns of Montana and Mike Bouchard of Michigan all trailing by significant margins.
Pro-lifers are worried that this spells trouble for legislation and judges that would protect the lives of the unborn and preserve marriage.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life surveyed Kennedy, a Republican, and his opponent, Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, vis a vis life issues. When another Supreme Court seat opens up, the group concluded, Klobuchar’s pro-abortion backers can count on her, as a U.S. senator, to “feverishly oppose any U.S. Supreme Court justice nominated by pro-life President Bush.”
The race for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Mark Dayton has been viewed as one of the most competitive races in the country. Several media-driven polls have shown Klobuchar with a wide lead (56-40), and independent polls don’t paint a much rosier piecture, placing Klobuchar’s lead at between 8 and 10 points.
Klobuchar, the Hennepin County district attorney, is running as a Democrat-Farmer-Labor (DFL) candidate in the mold of fellow Minnesotans Walter Mondale and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. If elected, she would be the state’s first elected female senator.
Kennedy, an accountant by profession, first won a U.S. House of Representative seat from Minnesota’s Second District in 2000. Following the state’s reapportionment, he ran and won the seat in the state’s Sixth District both in 2002 and 2004.
The Register is examining several key Senate races in which Catholics are running. They include the races between Rick Santorum and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Michael Steele and Ben Cardin in Maryland, and John Spencer and Hillary Clinton in New York.
Culture of Life
The National Right to Life Committee has given Kennedy a “100% pro-life” rating. He has voted in favor the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. He co-sponsored the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, calling the controversial procedure “cruelty masquerading as medicine.”
“There are a whole lot of issues out there that need to be decided on. Some have more, and some have less, moral perspective,” Kennedy told the Register. “The Vatican has been clear that the issue of life was not an issue that one could really have any other kind of view on. It’s fundamental to our existence as a human race. It’s fundamental to the Church to defend life.”
While Klobuchar has said that she would like to see the number of abortions reduced, she fully supports abortion on-demand and has received significant financial support and the endorsements of several pro-abortion groups. Her campaign failed to return calls to the Register, but she said in a Jan. 26, 2006 debate that she believes the decision to abort “should be made between a woman and her doctor.”
She also supports embryonic stem-cell research.
“I support bi-partisan legislation, recently vetoed by President Bush, which allows stem cells that would otherwise be discarded to be used with the permission of donors,” says a statement on her website.
In contrast, Kennedy supports neither abortion nor embryonic stem-cell research.
“We talk about promoting a culture of life,” said Katie Bueche, outreach coordinator for the Kennedy campaign. “That’s the message we’re trying to communicate. Hopefully that reaches most Catholics.”
“Mark holds life as one of the most sacred gifts we’ve been given,” said Heidi Frederickson, press secretary for the Kennedy campaign. “He opposes federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.”
Kennedy also voted to uphold President Bush’s veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.
“Stem-cell research is a complex topic that, unfortunately, has become somewhat clouded by politics,” said Kennedy, who supports cord-blood and adult stem-cell research that does not destroy life. “My focus has been to find cures for deadly diseases, while respecting the strongly held beliefs and emotions surrounding this issue, not to get caught up in the politics.”
He also is aware of the importance of the judicial branch in the pro-life struggle. “Liberal activist judges continue to substitute their own views for the law,” he said. “They are usurping the function of legislatures and ignoring the views of the people.” Read the Rest in the Register