Checking In On House Races To Watch

Emily Douglas

The presidential election isn't the only race with lots at stake for sexual and reproductive rights. In Congressional races around the country, supporters of reproductive health have an opportunity to seize a number of critical seats.

The presidential election isn’t the only race with lots at
stake for sexual and reproductive rights. 
In Congressional races around the country, supporters of reproductive
health have an opportunity to seize a number of critical seats.

Washington state
, Democrat Darcy Burner has been reminding women voters in
the 8th Congressional District that her opponent, incumbent Dave Reichert, has
said he believes that pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill a
prescription for birth control if morally opposed to it.  Reichert is also anti-choice.  But Reichert does have other bona fides women
can support.  Reports the Seattle Times: "Working
Mother magazine gave Reichert a Best of Congress award this year for his voting
record and the family-friendly policies in his office. He won endorsements from
the national and state teachers unions this year because of the education
policies he supports. He’s also part of a bipartisan group working to ease the
nation’s health-care crisis…In 2005, he was the only Republican to vote against
a provision in the Deficit Reduction Act that included a fee paid mostly by
single mothers."

In Colorado’s
4th District, Rep.
Marilyn Musgrave is trailing her pro-choice challenger
, Betsy Markey, by as
many as nine points.  EMILY’s List has
described Musgrave
as "the Sarah Palin of Colorado" because of an ad her campaign has run suggesting Markey
used her position as a "as a congressional staffer years ago to enrich her
information technology company through no-bid government contracts."

Kay Barnes, going after Rep. Sam Graves’s seat in Northwest
Missouri, has been highlighting Graves’s
opposition to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, SCHIP.  The St.
Joe News-Press
says SCHIP would have covered 8,000 young people in the 6th
District.  Missouri’s
Senator Claire McCaskill is campaigning for Barnes, and says that Graves argued that he supported the President’s veto
because undocumented immigrants could benefit from the program (they can’t).

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Marty Ozinga, Republican candidate for 11th District in
Illinois, claimed over the summer that health care is available to all
Americans, and his opponent, State Senator Debbie Halvorson, isn’t going to let
him forget it, reports

In Florida,
Rep. Tom Feeney, who has linked to corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is going to
confront the issue head-on with a new ad "to apologize for his role in the Jack
Abramoff corruption scandal," writes the Orland
.  The ad refers to the 2003
golfing trip Feeney took with Abramoff as a "rookie mistake."  While the ad confronts the scandal directly –
already a target for Feeney’s challenger, Suzanne Kosmas – questions about the
extent of Feeney’s involvement with Abramoff remain.

An anti-choice
wants to attract voters displeased by the support both
candidates for Ohio’s
15th Congressional district have for abortion rights.  Both Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy and Republican
Steven Stivers are pro-choice.  Their
challenger, Don Eckhart, has been endorsed by Ohio Right to Life.  Analysts say Stivers may be more negatively
impacted by Eckhart, as Stivers’s party usually turns out more anti-choice

Two pro-choice women are squaring off in the Kansas 2nd Congressional
District this fall – incumbent Democrat Rep. Nancy Boyda and Republican State
Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, who beat her anti-choice opponent, Jim Ryan, in the
Republican primary.  (Jenkins was
endorsed by Republican Majority for Choice.) 
Republicans think Boyda is vulnerable, because, as the Hays
Daily News
reports, Republicans "outnumber Democrats
3-to-2 in the eastern Kansas
district."  Boyda is emphasizing her
centrism and attempting to link Jenkins to Republicans in Washington. 
Jenkins characterizes the race as "a dead heat."

Arizona State Senator Tim Bee has
proven an impressive fundraiser in his race against pro-choice freshman Rep.
Gabrielle Giffords, but, notes
CQ Politics
, Giffords has been an impressive fundraiser herself.  Bee has been endorsed by Arizona Right to

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