With more than a year to go until the general election, abortion is
already becoming an issue in the 6th Congressional District race. An
analysis of anti-abortion campaign donations finds that Rep. Michele
Bachmann is one of the country’s top earners — and she’s delivered for
her contributors on that issue. At the same time, local anti-abortion
forces are already tarring Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) candidate State Sen. Tarryl Clark just a day
after she announced her candidacy.
Bachmann is ranked third of 435 U.S. House members in total campaign
contributions from anti-abortion interests, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Bachmann received $63,658 since she announced her run for Congress in
2005 — 3.5 times the amount given by abortion opponents to all other
Minnesota House members combined. Only Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., who
was first elected to Congress in 2002, and Chris Smith, R-N.J., who’s
been in Congress since 1980, have raised more from the anti-abortion
lobby, taking in $89,081 and $142,854 respectively.
Among Minnesota’s other House members, Reps. John Kline ($9,050),
Collin Peterson ($6,307), and James Oberstar ($3,289) have received
money from the anti-abortion lobby. Three other members — Reps. Betty
McCollum ($11,900), Tim Walz ($19,400) and Keith Ellison ( $4,600) —
have accepted gifts from abortion-rights groups.
Bachmann’s disproportionate share of contributions has paid off for
her anti-abortion benefactors. She’s sponsored or cosponsored an
impressive 13 bills restricting abortion rights so far this year. Among
the bills, one includes funneling entitlement money to “abortion
alternatives” programs and another that would ban race and sex
discrimination against fetuses. Yet another would give 14th Amendment
protections to an embryo or fetus.
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Her efforts have earned her the support of Minnesota’s largest
anti-abortion group, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, which all
but endorsed Bachmann in a scathing attack on Sen. Tarryl Clark only a
day after she launched her campaign to replace Bachmann.
“The voters in the 6th Congressional District need to know that
Tarryl Clark is a radical anti-life candidate,” said MCCL executive
director Scott Fischbach said in a statement on Tuesday. “Senator Clark
has voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions — even cruel
“From now until the election in 2010, MCCL will work tirelessly to
make sure the voters know that it is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann who
is willing to stand up and fight for the innocent unborn and their
mothers, while Tarryl Clark supports even the most gruesome taxpayer
funded abortions,” he said.
Dr. Maureen Reed, who is also seeking to defeat Bachmann, hasn’t
taken a strong stance on abortion, either in the current campaign or
as candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006.