Why are reporters still not asking if 2010 personhood supporters, like Coffman and Gardner, will back it again?
Now that Colorado’s review board for ballot initiatives has approved the wording of the proposed personhood amendment, and the race is on to find enough signatures to put it on the November ballot, you wonder if more reporters will get around to asking the measure’s former supporters, like Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Cory Gardner, and Rep. Doug Lamborn, whether they will go for it again in 2012.
Given what happened to failed Colo Senate Candidate Ken Buck, who un-endorsed the personhood amendment shortly after he won the GOP Senate primary in 2010 and was attacked nonstop on abortion issues during his campaign, you’d think it would be a no brainer for reporters to address the serious politics of this issue, pick up the phone, and call those guys listed up there (Coffman, Gardner, and Lamborn).
But it looks as if only the Colorado Statesman has tried to reach them so far, and it did so back in November.
Coffman was out of town when the Statesman tried to reach him, Gardner did not return the Statesman’s call, and Lamborn said he’s a “supporter of personhood.”
A spokesman for Coffman told me Thursday that he’d check to find out what his boss’ current position on personhood is.
The Colorado Right to Life blog states that Coffman, during the 2010 election cycle, was “on record supporting Personhood and is on record as Pro-Life with no exceptions.”
I asked Colorado Right to Life Vice President Leslie Hanks how her organization knew that Coffman supported personhood two years ago.
“Our blog reports on our candidate survey results,” she emailed me. “Congressman Coffman answered all our questions correctly to reflect he is a no exceptions pro life elected official who supports the personhood of the baby in the womb.”
I asked what “no exceptions” means in the context of the survey, and she said, among other things, that abortion would not be allowed in the case of rape and incest.
“Babies are persons, not ‘exceptions,'” she emailed me. “No innocent baby should be punished for the crime of his or her father. If mom’s life is in danger, the doctor has two patients & he should make every effort to save both. BTW, five of the Republican prez candidates have signed the PH pledge, so Mike is in good company.”
I called Denver talk-show host anti-abortion activist Bob Enyart to find out if he’d spoken to Coffman about personhood.
“I’m not going to comment for him,” Enyart told me, adding that he had a conversation with Coffman at a convention, and it was “not a significant conversation.” He did not specify if they discussed personhood, but if you know Enyart, you have to think they did.
Gardner, whose office didn’t return my call, has been described by a leading personhood activist as a “main supporter,” and the Colorado Right to Life blog showers praise on him for being “100 percent pro-life.”
Colorado Right To Life describes Lamborn’s position this way: “Incumbent Republican Doug Lamborn has always been solid on life issues, and has co-sponsored Personhood legislation at the national level.”
Personhood USA Legal Analyst Gualberto Garcia Jones told me he has no reason to believe his initiative will receive less support this time around than in 2010.
“I think a majority them [major CO GOP candidates] supported us last time,” he said. “And most of them were elected. I think the highest profile ones, like Ken Buck, who did waver, were the ones that suffered because they still got punished by the Democrats, and they didn’t have the benefit of the support of the base.”
Garcia Jones told me he welcomes an expected lawsuit from Planned Parenthood, trying to disqualify the ballot measure, because it motivates his base of supporters. “The only real concern for us was the fatigue of the base, and we rely on the base to get signatures,” he said. “So a lawsuit actually helps us. We’re not upset at being sued.”
State Sen. Scott Renfroe, who’s sponsored personhood legislation at the Capitol during his political career, said he supports the efforts to pass the personhood amendment in 2012.
“It’s never wrong to support life,” he told me. “Science is showing more and more that life is present at the earliest stages. And we have to give it a chance to prosper in this country.”
Renfroe said he thinks a ballot initiative is the “proper place” to bring the issue up, as the state legislature should focus on “jobs and the economy.”
Asked whether he thought past personhood supporters, like Coffman and Gardner, would support the measure in 2012, Renfroe said, “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.”