Anti-Abortion Group Claims Credit for Unseating West Virginia Democrat

Democrat Alan Mollohan, a 14-term incumbent representing West Virginia’s First Congressional District was defeated in primary yesterday by a conservative Democrat, state Sen. Mike Oliverio.

Now Mollohan had several problems, including being named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and given the anti-incumbent fervor of the moment, it’s hard to pin his loss on one particular cause. But a major anti-abortion group says it spend $78,000 in an effort to defeat him because of his vote for health care reform. (That’s nearly one-quarter of the entire amount raised by Oliverio’s campaign itself.)

In a statement, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, appeared to take credit for Rep. Bart Stupak’s retirement after he ultimately voted for the health care bill after holding it up over his claims (supported by the SBA List and others) that it funded abortion:

“Just as Bart Stupak did, Congressman Mollohan now fully realizes that votes do have consequences. Mollohan’s loss comes as a direct result of his vote for healthcare reform that included federal funding of abortion.

“We promised Rep. Mollohan and the other ‘pro-life’ Democrats that we would make their re-election incredibly painful if they voted ‘yes’ on the healthcare bill. Tonight, the Susan B. Anthony List followed through on that promise, and Rep. Mollohan is the second member of that coalition to see those consequences.

“This should be just another sign to ‘pro-life’ Democrats that voted for the healthcare bill that they will face the same consequences as Stupak and Mollohan.”

The Susan B. Anthony List spent $78,000 in West Virginia’s first district educating voters on Congressman Mollohan’s vote for healthcare with television ads, radio ads, and robo-calls. This is part of a $1 million effort to ensure that true pro-life leaders are elected in the districts of the so-called ‘pro-life’ Democrats, including Reps. Brad Ellsworth (IN-08), Steve Driehaus (OH-01) and Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03), who voted for healthcare reform that included federal funding of abortion.

There were many factors at play in this primary, of course, but the SBA List is clearly intent on spending money to unseat anti-choice Democrats who played a role in making the health care reform bill more restrictive of womens’ reproductive choices, but still supported health care reform. The SBA List and other members of the Stop the Abortion Mandate coalition ignored the facts about abortion coverage in the health care debate and used it as a wedge to try to defeat the bill as a whole. Now, it is turning on Democrats it once cheered for supporting the Stupak amendment, and it says, will spend $1 million this cycle doing exactly what it did in West Virginia.