Abortion supporters said Tuesday that fighting the campaign to recall pro-abortion Gov. Gray Davis (D) has eclipsed the state's upcoming U.S. Senate race as their top political priority.
In a series of news conferences organized by Davis allies who are fighting the recall, leaders from Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the California Abortion Rights Action League and other groups highlighted pro-life Congressman Darrell Issa's (R) opposition to abortion. Issa, is funding much of the recall effort and plans to run for governor if it gets on the ballot.
“This is absolutely our top political priority. We need this recall effort to fail to qualify and we're calling on pro-choice voters to boycott petitions,” said Kathy Kneer, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
“Darrell Issa knows he would never win in a face-to-face race with a pro-choice candidate, he needs a special election,” she said.
Until recently, Kneer said, Planned Parenthood was concentrating on working for pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) re-election next year. The group's shift in focus is the latest sign that a recall election is being viewed as a real possibility and supporters and opponents are gearing up for a full-blown campaign.
Recall backers dismissed the effort.
“There are some people who are desperate to change the focus of this recall away from Gray Davis' record, and I don't think it's going to work,” said Dave Gilliard, director of Rescue California Recall Gray Davis.
Recall supporters say they have collected nearly 600,000 of the 897,158 signatures they must submit by Sept. 2 to get the recall on the ballot. They want to turn in the signatures next month to force a special election in the fall.
Other Republicans considering running if the recall gets on the ballot are actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and failed GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon. Sim takes a pro-life position while Schwarzenegger supports abortion. Democrats could also run but Kneer said abortion supporters did not favor such a scenario splitting up the vote and would fight to keep Davis in office.
She claimed the California Planned Parenthood has 600,000 supporters and pledged to contact them by e-mail and phone to mobilize them against the recall.
The California Pro-Life Council has endorsed the petition to recall Governor Davis. To obtain a copy of their petition to distribute, click here.
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