Your morning jolt: Abortion and the Democratic race for governor

DuBose Porter, the Democratic candidate for governor, called Saturday afternoon to discuss his acknowledgement that he considers himself “pro-life” in the abortion debate.

He had signaled as much already. Porter was the only Democratic candidate for governor to attend a forum hosted this winter by the Georgia Christian Alliance.

(By coincidence, while Porter and I were talking, Sadie Fields, leader of the Alliance, was telling supporters that she was retiring her group. But this is another topic.)

At the root of Porter’s call was a weekend piece by the Athens Banner-Herald, noting the collapse of a set of gubernatorial debates by GeorgiaBio and what it said about political attitudes toward embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.

It’s a big issue among the research community at the University of Georgia. But in the course of researching the article, ABH reporter Blake Aued had to ascertain Porter’s related position on abortion. Wrote Aued:

I prefaced a question about embryonic stem cells by asking him whether he was pro-life or pro-choice.

“I don’t know if that’s where government needs to be,” he dodged.

I pressed a little bit, and he said he believes abortion ought to be legal in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. So, otherwise, you’re pro-life, then, right? Right, he said, but with the caveat that state governments don’t have much control over the issue.

“I really think this is something that ought to be handled in the courts later,” he said.

The Insider wondered outloud – all right, online – about what this said about Carol Porter, spouse of the gubernatorial hopeful and a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in her own right.

But DuBose Porter called to say that this wasn’t the proper question at all. The south Georgia lawmaker declined to address his wife’s position on abortion. She’s running her own campaign and would have to speak for herself, the husband said.

The real question, DuBose Porter said, was former Gov. Roy Barnes’ position on abortion – where is he?

We’re pretty sure that Barnes’ take on abortion is akin to that expressed by Hillary Clinton – “safe, legal and rare.”

But we’ve got a call into the Barnes campaign. And another call into Carol Porter’s campaign for lieutenant governor.

Early voting began Friday north Georgia’s 9th District congressional race, where former state lawmakers Tom Graves of Ranger and Lee Hawkins of Gainesville, both Republicans, are locked in a June 8 runoff.

In today’s AJC, Jim Walls – who also operates AtlantaUnfiltered.com, an investigating web site – details the financial advantage Graves has created by latching to Washington-based Club for Growth, an expert bundler of campaign contributions.

Over the weekend, Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News took a look at accusations, arising from Nathan Deal’s Republican campaign for governor, that GOP rival Karen Handel once said nice things about gay people:

They go back to 2003, when Handel was elected Fulton County Commission chairman, and first surfaced in 2006 when she was elected secretary of state….

Deal says she backed adoptions by gay couples and county employee benefits for gay domestic partners — and joined the pro-gay-rights Log Cabin Republicans.

If she did, that might have played well in Fulton County – but wouldn’t with most conservatives likely to vote in the July 20 GOP primary.

But she didn’t support such adoptions or benefits, said spokesman Dan McLagan. Like other Republicans, she spoke to the Log Cabin group, McLagan said, but – as far he knows – didn’t join.

Debates featuring the 7th District congressional race and the contest for governor, hosted by FreedomWorks, drew more than 300 people to the Gwinnett Center on Saturday.

The five-hour event featured several straw polls, which turned out as follows, according to organizers:

For governor: Karen Handel (R), 82; Nathan Deal (R), 77; Eric Johnson (R), 67; John Oxendine (R), 52; Jeff Chapman (R), 7; Ray McBerry (R), 1; John Monds (L); Otis Putnam (R), 1 (R).

For 7th District congressional race (All Republican); Clay Cox, 68; Jody Hice, 43; Chuck Efstration, 34; Rob Woodall, 29; Tom Kirby, 20; Jef Finger, 11.

For attorney general: Max Wood (R), 62; Sam Olens (R), 42; Preston Smith (R), 33; Ken Hodges (D), 2.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed a bill that transfers the responsibility for enforcing proper kosher food labeling from state Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin – to his own Office of Consumer Protection.

The Legislature had given unanimous passage to HB 1345, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta).

According to the Yeshiva World:

The revised Georgia statute will amend the existing kosher labeling law, enacted in 1980, in a manner that is patterned after the “public disclosure” models adopted in Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.

Public disclosure requires stores selling unpackaged food represented as kosher to inform the public as to the identity of the kosher certifier and other relevant information regarding the standards adhered to when making such a claim….

Though no court in Georgia deemed the state’s kosher law unconstitutional, a challenge was filed by local Conservative Rabbi Shalom Lewis and the American Civil Liberties Union. In response to the lawsuit, a bill was originally introduced in the House to repeal the kosher labeling law, but that measure was not brought to the floor for a vote.

“Had the current law simply been repealed, consumers would have likely faced an increase in kosher fraud,” says Rabbi Reuven Stein, director of supervision at the Atlanta Kashruth Commission. “Any store could have advertised its products as kosher without any requirement to substantiate their claim. House Bill 1345 does not replace the need for a reliable kosher supervisor or agency, but it will give consumers information about the kosher standards being used so they can make informed decisions.”

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27 comments Add your comment

Coastal Cavalier

May 24th, 2010
10:23 am

“We’re pretty sure that Barnes’ take on abortion is akin to that expressed by Hillary Clinton – “safe, legal and rare.”

Is the AJC so much the house organ for Barnes and the Dem establishment that you can now answer his questions?

Raquel Morris

May 24th, 2010
10:27 am

If the only Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor is in fact pro-life, and no one knew about it, this speaks to the disorganization, poor leadership, and horrible recruiting efforts of the Democratic Party of Georgia. I will be so glad when Roy wins reelection and is once again the head of the party. Obviously, there are a bunch of amateurs in charge right now.

Been Around-Done That

May 24th, 2010
10:29 am

????

May 24th, 2010
10:34 am

It’s good to see Handel in front but I’m sure 1 of the crooks is going to win.

clem

May 24th, 2010
10:53 am

I am afraid that whoever wins the Repub primary will be a hatemonger. They are already making homophobic, bigoted statements. It’s sad they they also all profess to be Christians. However, anyone who takes seriously Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount will immediately see that it’s inconceivable that Jesus of Nazareth–compassionate as he was toward the weak and powerless- would tolerate discrimation against anyone. Jesus preached love, not hate, but our Republican candidates are spewing hate-filled rhetoric.

Ray

May 24th, 2010
10:54 am

With the GOP war on education in high gear, we’re aborting our kids’ futures at record pace!

bart

May 24th, 2010
10:55 am

It’s pretty sad that Deal is in 2nd place. He is a proven crook. And under Oxendine, we have the 8th highest car insurance rates in the country.

Ray

May 24th, 2010
10:55 am

There’s more Jesus in a Democratic Party meeting than in the Baptist Church!

Mayanne

May 24th, 2010
10:57 am

The Repubs have devastated public education in our state.

Observer

May 24th, 2010
11:02 am

Interesting to see DuBose Porter out front on this issue while Carol Porter hides in the shadows and poll tests her answer.

Johnny

May 24th, 2010
11:29 am

Re: Pro-life on abortion, how about asking the Porters, and all the candidates, for that matter, if they are pro-life after birth? Did they support or vote on health care reform on a state level? Can they explain why Georgia rakes as the 46th or 47th worst state when it comes the number of premature deaths, uninsured and those who lack proper immunization? Can they quote statistics on how many have died needlessly because they were deemed “uninsurable” by Georgia private companies?

RGB

May 24th, 2010
11:38 am

Interesting that several posters race to claim Jesus as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat party.

This from the same party that works tirelessly every day to stamp out prayer, to eliminate any semblance of religion (especially Christianity, but not Islam) in this country, and to insure that abortions are readily available (even encouraged) and taxpayer financed. Jesus didn’t say “blessed is the party that establishes abortion as a primary plank of its political platform.” There are 50 million babies who died for this plank.

For all you “Republicans are devastating education”, what is your role in the education of your children? Do you have any responsibilities, or do you turn it all over to the government just like you do everything else? Do the school boards (who are mostly Democrats) have any role whatsoever in running schools? Do you have any solutions….at all….even one?

But why assume any responsibility for yourself when you can find a scapegoat Republican politician? It enables your continued laziness and mediocrity.

Winkasdad29

May 24th, 2010
11:46 am

A person’s position on abortion has nothing to do with his/her ability to govern the state. It’s a talking point that’s a waste of time. The real issues for Georgia are education, the economy and transportation. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.

Observer

May 24th, 2010
11:47 am

Spoken like a true Carol Porter supporter, Wink. Issues of life and death a distraction? Don’t suspect Georgia voters feel the same way.

Mark

May 24th, 2010
11:51 am

Jim, were there no results for SoS?

MD

May 24th, 2010
11:58 am

I think all democrats should have abortions.

Ray

May 24th, 2010
12:18 pm

‘There are 50 million babies who died for this plank’

Really? What were their names? Call the cops!

That must have cost a fortune in funerals…

Garth

May 24th, 2010
12:40 pm

If Ox-an’head gets the nod from the Republicans you can bet the hunting accident will come up again and the fact it was whitewashed.
Oxy may have shot another guy’s leg, but he shot himself in the foot
on that one. The guy’s a real nozzle. I’ll take anybody over this
wiz-kid with his wannable cop blue lights, sirens and badge.

Washington County Dude

May 24th, 2010
12:50 pm

I have found that these politicians who talk about gays all the time usually have something in their own closet… Furthermore, if Nathan Deal says you have to be straight to be a parent, then I say that you can’t be crooked to be a governor (that should disqualify him, LOL).

Tom

May 24th, 2010
1:42 pm

Lee Hawkins is a Joe Biden loving liberal, no wonder Club 4 Growth is backing his opponent.

[...] Aued had an interesting exchange with Democratic Candidate for Governor DuBose Porter (hat tip: Political Insider). Talking to Porter about biotech research this afternoon, I prefaced a question about embryonic [...]

Psychdoc

May 24th, 2010
3:39 pm

Hey, Ray, we don’t have to worry about “aborting” our kids’ futures because we are aborting the actual kids at a rate of 90 per day in Georgia. 33,000 per year. How’s that for a lot of Dems that are missing? For the most part, conservatives do not abort their children and they educate them properly, too. (Homeschools, private schools, & christian schools.)

TW

May 24th, 2010
4:58 pm

Phychdoc – how does one abort an ‘actual kid?’ Does must really piss their parents off. Have there been any arrests?

deegee

May 24th, 2010
6:24 pm

The only thing more offensive than a know-it-all is a know-it-all that wears their religion on their sleeve.

Tired

May 24th, 2010
6:47 pm

A shame. I was considering voting for DuBose, but obviously he considers women second-class citizens who can not be entrusted with their own bodies.

gbulldog

May 26th, 2010
12:23 pm

After 8 years of Bush & his war on the middle class (ABC News), and Sonny Perdue removing our Property Tax break, most of the people in Georgia could care less about debating national issues like abortion & gay rights which serve no actual purpose except to allow professional politicians to divide & conquer us.

What we need is someone from any party to restore our property tax break so we do not loose our homes, provide jobs so we can afford to eat & pay the bills, and pass laws that actually protect the people & thier lives from being used as a political pawns to further some political agenda.

We also need to establish control over the influence of special interests & corporations on our daily lives. The only real question is when will the people stand up and say “Enough is Enough”, “Either Fix the Problems or Get Out of the Way, So We Can”.

I have far more faith in the American People than any politician, special interest group, or corporation. I would think everyone would feel this way now, especially after the Financial Crisis fiasco & the BP Oil fiasco. It is blantently obvious, after so many people offer good solutions to clean up the oil spill and are ignored by BP & the Federal Government, that none of the predominant institutions care about anything or anyone but themsleves…

tonya

June 26th, 2010
9:08 am

I am voting for Otis Putman for Governor….