National Right to Life endorses McConnell in Senate race
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The National Right to Life Committee on Wednesday announced it is backing U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell for re-election.
It's a big endorsement for McConnell but, so far, social issues have taken a back seat in the race. In fact, this is the first time abortion has been raised as an issue in the campaign, and a big reason may be your wallet.
"On behalf of the National Right to Life Committee, I'm very proud and honored to announce the National Right to Life endorsement of Sen. Mitch McConnell for re-election," said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life at a Louisville news conference.
In endorsing McConnell, National Right to Life pointed to his long-time pro-life record. "When someone has been there for you, and in the trenches fighting for you, that's when we're going to come back and say we're with you as well," said Tobias.
Both McConnell and his primary challenger Matt Bevin are pro-life.
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has not officially stated her position but, in a recent interview, voiced support for Roe v. Wade. Grimes also has been endorsed by the pro-choice group Emily's List.
But to this point in the campaign, social issues have been overshadowed by pocketbook concerns. "Those are issues that clearly work with voters. Voters are clearly concerned about their pocketbooks. They're concerned about the economy," said Dewey Clayton, political science professor at the University of Louisville.
That's reflected on the candidates' websites.
Grimes issues page does not mention abortion. It's also not evident on McConnell's campaign site. Bevin's website does mention abortion, but he is not emphasizing the issue on the campaign trail.
"I'm a pro-life candidate. It is not something that I'm leading with because in light of the financial straits that we're in, it's not something that at the top of people's concerns," said Bevin.
But even when abortion does come up, candidates are having to tread lightly. In 2012, controversial comments about rape and abortion sank Richard Mourdock's Senate campaign in Indiana.
"Social issues can be very treacherous and can work for or against a candidate. So, it's not necessarily surprising to me to see, at this point, candidates somewhat staying away from social issues," said Clayton.
Clayton expects social issues will take center stage as the general election approaches. Those are the issues that will often drive a candidate's base to the polls.
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