LUNGREN VS. DAVIS: Lungren Defends Abortion Stance In TV Ad
State Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren launched a television commercial Saturday in response to last week's ad by opponent Lt. Gov. Gray Davis (D), which "reminded voters that Lungren ... voted numerous times to ban abortions even in the case of rape or incest." With a new Los Angeles Times poll showing "Davis holding a tenuous lead over Lungren with slightly more than six weeks left in the race," Lungren's ad attempts to correct what he calls Davis' "misrepresent[ation]." The San Francisco Examiner reports that in his ad, Lungren says: "As a lifelong Catholic I believe abortion is wrong, but I understand the need to make exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is endangered." Lungren also mentions parental consent for abortions for teenagers and taxpayer-financed abortions for the poor, saying in his ad: "As a parent I think you ought to know if someone intends to perform an abortion on your 14-year-old daughter. Gray Davis disagrees. I don't believe taxpayers should be required to pay for all types of abortions. Gray Davis thinks you should." The Examiner reports that Lungren hopes "that voters will respect him for standing firm on his personal views, even if the majority of Californians disagree with him and support abortion rights" (Salladay, 9/19).
The political editor of the San Jose Mercury News writes that Davis' ad about Lungren's past voting record is "accurate" and asks, "How does Dan Lungren reconcile his [past record] ... against his newfound position?" He says Lungren's ad "seeks to shift the abortion debate to parental consent, an issue on which he is in sync with 68% of California voters, and government funding, on which opinion is more closely divided." He says "Lungren's discomfort with having his [anti-abortion voting] record made part of a campaign commercial is understandable" since "his stand on the issue is out of sync with about two-thirds of California voters, including 57% of Republicans" (Trounstine, 9/20).