The ranks of the Personhood 33, as I’ve been calling the top 33 Colorado candidates who’ve endorsed the Personhood Initiative, are diminishing.
First, as you know, Ken Buck un-endorsed the measure, though he still supports personhood “as a concept,” leaving me and others wondering what’s changed. His hard-line abortion stance still puts him in opposition to common forms of birth control and abortion even in the case of rape and incest.
Still, I’ve been wondering if the other 32 members of the Personhood 33 will follow Buck’s cue. (See list here.)
So this week, I phoned up some more of them, after determining previously that Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo were standing with the Amendment.
Colorado Senate (SD 16) candidate Tim Leonard, who…-like Buck…-believes that life begins at conception, told me he never endorsed the Personhood measure, and the Christian Family Alliance website erred in listing him as an endorser.
“I’ve taken no position on any citizens initiative or anything that’s on the ballot that doesn’t have to do with me,” he said, adding that activists were asking him about it during the primary but he never took a position.
Colorado House (HD 35) candidate Edgar Antillon also told me he shouldn’t be on endorser list anymore, having un-endorsed the Initiative during the GOP primary before Buck did.
“Obviously, I don’t get attention like Ken Buck does, but my stance changed on that,” he told me, primarily because he supports abortion to save a women’s life, putting the life of the mother first.
So the Personhood 33 was down to the Personhood 30 by the time I called Colorado House (HD 34) candidate Brian Vande Krol, who told me that he also never endorsed Personhood Amendment. The Colorado Right to Life website claims he supports “Personhood”.
“Mr. Vande Krol was reported to support Personhood by a volunteer who said he spoke to him, but this is not a reliable method of knowing of someone’s stand, and he has also not responded to our survey,” Bob Kyffin, custodian of the CRTL blog, emailed me in response to my questions. “We have tried to make it clear that the only way we know for sure where someone stands is if they respond to the survey. When we do, we make note of that.”
Kyffin added: “Your articles are helpful to us in determining who sincerely supports Personhood and who is just pretending — historically a major difficulty with Republicans. It is our hope that most of those you communicate with will affirm support for Personhood in full knowledge that the only forms of birth control it would ban are those that cause a chemical abortion (i.e. abortifacients).”
I left a couple messages over the past week at the campaign of U.S. House candidate (CD-4) Cory Gardner, who’s endorsed Personhood, but I didn’t get a response yet.
Abandoning Personhood would be a major change of direction for Gardner, given that, you may recall, he bragged at a February candidate forum about circulating petitions to put the measure on the ballot this year.
“I have signed the Personhood petition. I have taken the petitions to my church and circulating them in my church. And I have a legislative record that backs up my support for life,” said Gardner.
But Gardner, like Buck, has changed his position on one issue dear to the hearts of social conservatives. The Coloradoan reported Oct. 3 that Gardner will no longer carry legislation to outlaw abortion, despite what he previously told Tea Party groups.
Given the prominence of social issues in past CD 4 elections, the Coloradoan is right to be asking Gardner about these topics, even if he resists them. (You can hear the Gardner’s exchange with the Coloradoan here, toward the end of the clip. It’s a great example of a journalist pressing a candidate to answer a question directly.)
But especially given Buck’s statements on Amendment 62, journalists outside of Ft. Collins should be asking the personhood endorsers what they think nowadays about the measure. But they’re not. Hence this blog post, to fill in the journalistic gap.