Save it for the next one

By AL DIAMON  |  August 8, 2007

On the Republican side, there’s a split. House Minority Leader Joshua Tardy of Newport is reluctant to discuss the issue, but if pressed, he’ll admit that he’d sign an abortion ban. During his three terms in Augusta, Tardy voted consistently to restrict the practice. Former state Senate President Rick Bennett of Norway is pro-choice, although his voting record indicates he might be willing to consider some mild restrictions.

Those positions could present problems for both candidates. While Bennett’s stand in favor of legal abortion would play well with pro-choice Democrats and independents, a significant voting bloc in the general election, it would likely cause problems in the GOP primary, where the influence of pro-lifers is greater. In contrast, Tardy, like 2006 Republican nominee Chandler Woodcock, could use his anti-abortion credentials to advantage in securing the GOP nomination, while dooming his chances of attracting broader support in the November balloting.

There’s some irony in all this. If conservative Republicans get their wish to have the Supreme Court throw out Roe, they could be handing Maine Democrats the issue they’ll need to overcome eight years of ineptness by the current governor (whoever he is), and retain the Blaine House.

The GOP’s only hope of preventing the abortion debate from defining the 2010 campaign may be if Arthur C. Clarke turns out to be right, and the space aliens show up on schedule.

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