The anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List has endorsed Republican candidate Sue Lowden in the Nevada Senate race. But the endorsement is a little unusual given Lowden used to be in favor of abortion rights.
The group praised Lowden for being against abortion rights going back to her time as a state senator in the mid-1990s. She hasn’t always been on board, though.
Well-known Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston in December pointed out that Lowden, as a GOP state senator in a heavily Democratic district, actually voiced support for Roe v. Wade. The Las Vegas Sun also reported in 1996 that Lowden favored stripping an abortion ban from the national party platform, though Lowden's camp has said the report was inaccurate.
It's unusual for an anti-abortion rights group to give an endorsement to a candidate who was once for abortion rights, especially when they face primary opponents who haven’t favored abortion rights in the past.
Lowden is a frontrunner in a primary the features businessman Danny Tarkanian, former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle and investment banker John Chachas. Angle, the only one of the three with a voting record, is known as a true-blue conservative on issues like abortion, and some have suggested she would have been a better fit for the endorsement.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the decision was about electability.
"It's not a question of a lack of faith in Sharron but it is the belief in Sue's ability to get the job done in defeating Reid on Election Day,” Dannenfelser said.
Another top anti-abortion rights group, National Right to Life, has not endorsed in the primary. But it said it looks forward to working with whoever wins, including Lowden.
“If Sue Lowden wins the primary, I expect National Right to Life will be enthusiastically backing her,” executive director David O’Steen said. “Many people have come to see that the pro-life position is the correct position, and we welcome people joining the movement.”
Lowden’s campaign says she came to oppose abortion rights long ago and points out that she never voted in support of abortion rights as a state senator.
“Unlike Harry Reid, who has continually backed taxpayer funding for abortions in Washington contrary to his own moral standing, Sue Lowden's Catholic values and life experiences have provided her with a strong belief in the right to life,” said a spokeswoman for Lowden, Crystal Feldman.