Risky Business? Pac Decisionmaking in Congressional Elections

By Robert Biersack; Paul S. Herrnson et al. | Go to book overview

between John Linder (R) and Cathey Steinberg (D). The PAC contributed $4,000 directly to Linder and spent another $9,080 on behalf of his successful effort. Linder did not stress abortion as an issue: "Abortion was not the focus of my campaign, but my position had been strong and consistent."14 The use Linder made of abortion in his campaign was typical of the eight new Republicans interviewed by Policy Review.

Although it might seem that an ideological PAC would welcome the opportunities that come from redistricting, the NRLPAC viewed redistricting in negative terms for two reasons. First, it thought that pro-life incumbents were treated unfairly either by being forced to run in new districts or by having their districts combined. O'Steen elaborates: "An example of this was Illinois, which had four pro-life incumbents redistricted into two districts."15 The second negative impact on the NRLC's goals was the creation of minority districts. O'Steen described the situation: "Of the seventeen new minority districts, fifteen went to pro-abortion candidates, including all eleven new black majority districts which backed Democratic nominees, each of whom was pro-abortion."16


Conclusion

From the perspective of the NRLC, the results of the 1992 election were mixed. The right-to-life movement lost its major objective: President Bush was defeated. For the first time since the end of the Carter administration, it faces a hostile White House. The other major goal, electing enough members of Congress to prevent FOCA from being enacted, met with greater success. In his article on the 1992 elections, O'Steen tried to maximize popular support for the pro-life position. The failure of some of the successful pro-life Republican candidates to emphasize abortion is a cause for concern. If the PAC continues to endorse candidates like Coverdell, this will mark the beginning of a new, more pragmatic type of political activity. It also holds out a way to reconcile factions within the Republican party.


Notes
1.
Gerald N. Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope: Can the Courts Bring About Social Change? ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
2.
Frederick S. Jaffe, Barbara L. Lindheim, and Philip R. Lee, Abortion Politics: Private Morality and Public Policy ( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981), p. 77.
3.
Eve R. Rubin, Abortion, Politics, and the Courts (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1987), p. 110.
4.
See Michele McKeegan, Abortion Politics: Mutiny in the Ranks of the Right ( New York: Free Press, 1992), p. 25.
5.
Jaffe et al., Abortion Politics, p. 121.
6.
McKeegan, Abortion Politics, p. 31.
8.
St. Darla Martin, "The Poll that Really Counts: Abortion and the 1988 Election,"

-138-

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