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Wednesday, September 22,2010

Virg Watch

The abortion issue surfaces on the campaign trail

by Andy Balaskovitz
virg.jpgVirg Bernero’s Democratic gubernatorial campaign is chasing women as of late … their vote, that is.

At campaign stops in Lansing, Flint and Southfield Monday, Bernero and running mate Brenda Lawrence slammed opponent Rick Snyder’s position on abortion. Snyder believes women should have the right to choose to have a child only in cases of rape or incest or when the mother is in a life-or-death situation.

So how important is campaigning on the abortion issue for women’s votes?

“This is an absolutely critical block of voters,” Joe DiSano, a Democratic political consultant, said. “If Bernero has any chance of winning, he needs these voters.”

The abortion push comes after Bernero received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, which has a political action committee to promote pro-choice candidates.

DiSano said Bernero promoting his pro-choice stance extends beyond abortion and addresses women’s health in general. “It is respective of their options,” when it comes to women’s health, he said.

DiSano thinks that the abortion issue is bound to fade away from political campaigns. “In 20 years, people will be scratching their heads on why this was ever an issue. Just like gay rights,” he said. “People will wonder why we spent so much time fighting over this.”

He added that during election season, there are very few if any “silver bullet” issues that everyone bases his or her vote on. Politicians have to be “methodical” when it comes to targeting issues, such as abortion, and aim for one block of voters rather than everyone, he said.

“Getting Democratic-leaning women in your column is very important in the broader perspective,” DiSano said.

It seems the task at hand for Bernero is exactly that: getting voters in his column. The Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that Snyder holds a 21-point lead over Bernero. However, DiSano believes Snyder is setting himself up for a turn-around in what he calls an “arrogant victory lap” campaign.

“This victory lap campaign is incredibly puzzling to me,” he said, adding that it hurts Republicans’ chances of taking over the majority of the state House of Representatives. “Those chances are diminished if the Snyder campaign doesn’t give red meat to its (Republican) base to turn out and vote.”

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