Colorado Republicans are in the national spotlight as they choose a candidate to take on pro-choice Sen. Michael Bennet, one of the few Democratic U.S. senators deemed vulnerable in next year’s election.
But the state GOP has had difficulty fielding a candidate, with leading prospects, such as anti-choice Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, and state Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango, withdrawing their names from consideration.
A leading GOP candidate who’s entered the race, state Sen. Tim Neville, is considered by observers to be one of Colorado’s most conservative state senators, and he makes no effort to conceal his staunch anti-choice positions.
Neville recently sponsored a bill that would have forced a woman to wait 24 hours and have a vaginal ultrasound prior to having an abortion.
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Neville drew fire from Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado last week, when he officially entered the U.S. Senate race.
“All of Tim Neville’s anti-choice proposals have had one goal—putting up barriers for Colorado women seeking abortion care,” said Cathy Alderman, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, which included Neville earlier this year in its Colorado Women’s Health Wall of Shame. “Neville is well-known for being out of step with Coloradans’ core values, including the right to make personal and private decisions about our own health care.”
Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected so-called personhood ballot initiatives pushed by anti-choice lawmakers across the state. “Personhood” laws define life as beginning at fertilization and ban all abortion or other procedures that would destroy a zygote or fetus prior to birth.
“We’re not going to shy away from issues, whether it be issues we brought up last year in the Parent’s Bill of Rights, issues that are important to life,” Neville told Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland last week. “We don’t feel we need to shy away from those. We need to actually have the honest debates there. And we feel the American people are ready to have those debates too.”
Birkeland reported that Steve House, Colorado’s Republican Party chair, refused to label the House as “too far to the right” to win in the swing state of Colorado, but that Democrats believe he’s too conservative for the purple state.
Other Republicans who already are in the U.S. Senate race, but with a lower profile than Neville, include Robert Blaha, a businessman, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, and former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez. Attorney Dan Caplis is reportedly considering about a run, as is Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.