CALIFORNIA GOP: Will Electing a Pro-Life Chair be ‘Political Suicide’?
The strong anti-abortion stance of California Republican Party Vice Chair John McGraw -- who many assume will win the party's chairmanship in a vote next month -- could result in "political suicide," the Sacramento Bee's John Jacobs writes. McGraw, who also "led an unsuccessful effort to bar any GOP campaign money to any GOP candidate who supported late-term abortions," told San Francisco Faith in a recent interview, "The most important issue by far is the abortion issue. ... Compared to that, cutting taxes or any other issue pales in comparison." Jacobs notes that McGraw has since said those statements represent "personal moral priorities" which should not be confused "with the priorities of the California Republican party," and has emphasized his fundraising for pro-choice Republicans. Nonetheless, Jacobs notes that "McGraw's comments have also emboldened some more moderate Republicans to challenge" him, "and to remove the party's anti-abortion rights plank from the state party platform." Ventura County Republican Bob Larkin said McGraw's statements "shocked" him, and his group, the California Congress of Republicans, "is working to take the state party back from anti-abortion religious activists who now dominate it." Jacobs writes that some party faithful see McGraw as taking the state party further into losing ground, after both big-ticket candidates in 1998, Dan Lungren and Matt Fong, lost after opponents hammered them on their abortion-rights positions. Jacobs points out that if Mcgraw wins, he "will be the party spokesman in the nation's largest state throughout the 2000 campaign cycle." He concludes that McGraw's election "won't help" a party who recently "suffered its biggest losses in 40 years last November" (Jacobs, 1/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.