Who Won the “War on Women” Tuesday?
In today’s Morning Buzz, PoliticsPA linked to a post in the conservative national blog RedState. It had a rather unfavorable take on Planned Parenthood’s performance in PA’s elections on Tuesday. It cited three examples:
1. Ryan Mackenzie won his state house special election in HD-134 (Berks/Lehigh) despite Planned Parenthood’s national branch spending $100K on ads that hammered him over the GOP-sponsored ultrasound mandate (which he said he opposes). Mackenzie cruised to a 59 to 41 percent win over Dem Patrick Slattery.
2. Jason Altmire had gone hard after Mark Critz for his vote to defund Planned Parenthood in mailers and a TV ad, but Critz prevailed.
3. Anne Chapman defeated Helen Bosley in the Republican primary in HD-31 (to face Rep. Steve Santarsiero in the fall). Bosley had the Bucks GOP endorsement, but she’d also previously served as an executive at an area Planned Parenthood. Chapman blasted Bosley over her resume and won by over 25 points. GrassrootsPA has a copy of a mailer (PDF) from the PA Family PAC against Bosley.
Are these enough to call the night a loss for PP? Not so fast, says Planned Parenthood PA Executive Director Sari Stevens. The PA chapter spent between $30,000 and $40,000 this primary and counted their total at 6 wins of 9 races, she said.
On election night, the group sent out a press release claiming victory.
In the most exciting victory of the night, former Planned Parenthood employee Erin Molchany defeated the Democratic State Committee endorsed and anti-choice Mark Schmotzer by a significant margin in the democratic primary to replace former State Representative Chelsa Wagner in House District 22.
Women scored a victory in House District 126 in Reading, where Mark Rozzi, the only pro-choice candidate in the democratic primary, handily beat two anti-choice opponents. Planned Parenthood PA PAC was the only organization engaged on behalf of Mark.
Madeleine Dean was elected to fill the vacant seat of Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and made support for women’s healthcare and opposition to the mandatory ultrasound bill a cornerstone of her campaign. Planned Parenthood played a significant role in all these races.
They also spent on behalf of Republican Rep. Duane Milne (R-Chester), who successfully beat back conservative challenger Joe Corrigan 64 to 36 percent.
Stevens notes that the group wasn’t involved in the PA-12 or HD-31 races.
“Planned Parenthood didn’t engage in the Bosley race, as we have endorsed Steve Santarsiero and do not distinguish between primary and general election endorsements. Had Planned Parenthood engaged in this district the outcome would have been much different – our Republican supporter base is significant in the 31st,” she said.
Nor did PP get involved in the primary between Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland) and Andrew Shaw. Vance, who is pro-choice, defeated pro-life Shaw, who had earned several favorable posts on RedState and support from national conservative groups like the Family Research Council.
For us, it comes down to cash. Planned Parenthood spent the most – $100,000 – in HD-134, and it barely made a dent. In perspective, that’s about as much as either the Mackenzie or the Slattery campaigns put on TV.
The defunct ultrasound mandate and the “war on women” are certain to play in the Philadelphia suburbs and a few other spots around PA in November. But Tuesday showed that the issue won’t be a silver bullet for Democrats.