NOM Election Watch 2010/Maggie Gallagher


Election 2010 is now officially underway with U.S. Senate primary elections Tuesday in Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina.  So today, we’re launching “NOM Marriage Election Watch 2010” so you can find out what election results across the country mean for marriage.  (As Fox News founder Roger Ailes likes to say “We found a niche market—half the American people.”)

Here’s the very first results of marriage election 2010!

Ohio is shaping up as the sharpest contrast on the Senate side. Ohio is one of the 30 states that have passed state marriage amendments. In the Dem primary, Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher beat even more liberal Jennifer Brunner and will face Rob Portman this fall.

Lee Fisher used to be pro-marriage, but he flip-flopped to run in the Dem primary for the Senate and now strongly endorses gay marriage.  His GOP opponent Rep. Rob Portman (who ran unopposed)  is a reliable pro-marriage candidate who voted for a federal marriage amendment in 2004.

Right now, the polls show Portman and Fisher in a statistical dead heat.  (A Quinnipiac poll of 1500 likely voters taken in late April has it:  Fisher 40 percent, Portman 37 percent.) The race is for a seat vacated by Republican George Voinovich so it’s a must hold for the GOP.

In Indiana, Dan Coats emerged from a five-person contest to grab the GOP nomination. Coats was in Congress in 1996 and voted for the federal Defense of Marriage Act. He was undoubtedly helped by a late endorsement and radio ad by Dr. James Dobson:  “I have long respected former Senator Dan Coats for his integrity and his legislative influence in the Congress,” Dobson said in a statement. “I also admire his personal commitment to his Christian faith in public life. Dan has been a consistent leader of pro-family causes and a stalwart defender of unborn children. If my wife Shirley and I were Hoosiers, we would definitely vote for Dan Coats in the May 4th primary.”

Although the latest Downs Center/SurveyUSA poll shows Dan Coats comfortably ahead of presumed Dem nominee Brad Ellsworth (47 to 31 percent),  some experts say Coats may still have to work hard to shore up his conservative base, especially if the Democrats nominate a plausibly pro-life, pro-marriage Democrat like Brad Ellsworth. We’ll be close keeping tabs on these two candidates’ positions on marriage moving forward. If Coats wins, it will be a pickup for the GOP.

In the North Carolina Democratic primary,  openly pro-gay marriage candidate Elaine Marshall won a plurality in a three way race, but with 36 percent of the vote -- not a big enough win to avoid a run-off with the considerably more coy second-place finisher Cal Cunningham (27 percent; Ken Lewis pulled 17 percent of the vote).  LGBT blogs like Pam’s House Blend are complaining Cal’s just not answering the question of whether he’s pro or anti-gay marriage (although Cunningham openly supports other LGBT issues like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell).  Elaine Marshall is blunt: she will vote to repeal DOMA. The primary runoff in June will determine who takes on incumbent pro-marriage Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who has twice voted for a federal marriage amendment, and who ran unopposed in the primary.

An April 19 Rasmussen Reports poll shows Burr up 50 percent to 32 percent against Elaine Marshall and up 53 to 31 percent against Cal Cunningham.

That’s all for this week.

Next primaries are May 18: Arkansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania.

Oh, and please pass this link onto a friend you know cares about marriage. That’s how we grow our way around the mainstream media blackout.