Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriguez and Teague

Abortion-rights groups are threatening to withhold their support from lawmakers who supported a provision in the House healthcare bill that restricts federal funding on abortion.

Two major groups took aim at members they seem to have lost over the issue.

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The Democrats — Reps. Ciro Rodriguez and Harry Teague — stood out as members of Congress who received NARAL’s and Planned Parenthood’s money last cycle and proceeded to vote for the Stupak Amendment on Saturday.

NARAL political director Elizabeth Shipp said in a statement to The Hill that Rodriguez (Texas) and Teague (N.M.) will pay a price for their votes.

“We have reached out to these members and will inform them that there will be consequences for not standing with us on this vote,” Shipp said.

“Our expectation is that they will see how the Stupak amendment adversely affects women and reconsider their position if the issue comes before the House again.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said her organization is “very disappointed” in the two.

“We hope they stand up in the future to protect women’s health, and we will continue to work with them and others to strip out this amendment that takes away benefits that women have today, so true health reform can move forward,” Richards said.

Teague is a leading target, and he faces a strong candidate in former Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.). His vote could be chalked up to covering his hide in a swing district.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, is a little harder to gauge.

Despite needing a runoff to win his seat in 2006, Rodriguez won easily in 2008 and isn’t near the top of many lists of vulnerable members in 2010. Self-funder Quico Canseco (R) looms as a potential opponent, but Canseco lost the primary last year and isn’t being talked up much by GOP leaders.

Previously, Rodriguez has consistently received scores of 100 from NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

A spokeswoman for Rodriguez did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Teague, meanwhile, is a new member of Congress with no voting history. After spurning the abortion-rights crowd with one of his first big votes on the issue, he has surely lost its confidence.

In a statement, he said he supports the Hyde amendment, a piece of legislation first passed in 1976, which would be codified by Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) amendment.

“The Stupak amendment applies existing law, which bars federal funding for abortion, to the healthcare reform bill,” Teague said. “I am committed to upholding a woman’s right to choose, but I also believe that we should continue to uphold the law that for 33 years has barred federal funding of abortions.”

(Note: a previous version of this story misattributed Teague's statement to Rodriguez. The Hill regrets the error.)


N.J. GOP looks to offensive lineman to move the ball forward


Are you ready for some football … players thinking about running for Congress?

PolitickerNJ.com is reporting that New Jersey Republicans are recruiting former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan to run against freshman Rep. John Adler (D-N.J.) next year.

The site reported that State Assemblywoman Dawn Addiego has been talking to Runyan, but Addiego declined to confirm or deny her involvement.

Runyan said in a statement he is considering running.

“I am seriously considering becoming a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district,” he said.

He didn’t offer a timeline on his decision, simply saying: “I look forward to having more to say on this subject in the weeks ahead.”

This dance is a familiar one, and we saw it earlier this year in freshman Rep. Larry Kissell’s (D-N.C.) district. In that case, former Carolina Panthers defensive back Mike Minter was unsuccessfully recruited to challenge the freshman Kissell.

Ever since Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) found his way to Congress in 2006, it seems, we’ve all been waiting for the next football player to make the leap.

Ex-NFL tight end Jay Riemersma is in the GOP primary field for Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s (R-Mich.) open seat, but it’s hardly a top race for either party, and no national GOP leaders were banging on his door.

The list of those who have resisted the urge, and the urgings, is much longer.

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Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware declined to run against Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) this year; former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was wooed for the race against Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.), to no avail; and we haven’t heard a peep from former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche since he made overtures in August about running for Rep. Gresham Barrett’s (R-S.C.) seat.

And we won’t soon forget all the hoopla about Hall-of-Famers Mike Ditka and John Elway potentially running for Senate in their respective home states.

The moral of the story is: Don’t hold your breath when it comes to Runyan.


Pawlenty is first to the starting line in N.H.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will kick off the 2012 presidential season in New Hampshire next month.

Pawlenty will appear in Concord, N.H., at a fundraiser for the Republican Senate Majority Committee PAC, which benefits state Senate incumbents and candidates.

He will be the keynote speaker at the event Dec. 16 and is apparently the only potential 2012 hopeful who responded to an invitation from the group.

The outgoing governor has been busy in recent days, having attended a fundraiser in Iowa over weekend. He will also be visiting Florida and Texas in the near future.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is thought to be the early favorite in the Granite State.

-- This story was updated at 10:37 a.m.