At least four leading Republican gubernatorial candidates have received an endorsement from the anti-abortion group Oregon Right to Life.
That’s always a significant endorsement in conservative politics, but this year, the decision may be even more notable. The Oregon Right to Life political action committee endorsed four leading Republican gubernatorial candidates—Bridget Barton, Christine Drazan, Bud Pierce and Bob Tiernan—but declined to endorse Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam.
It may be a signal that voters with more traditional values won’t support Pulliam after his admission to having previously participated in a Portland swingers group. Pulliam has tried to move on since acknowledging in an interview to WW that he and his wife were previously members of the swingers group, focusing instead on conservative issues like Portland’s crime rate.
The gubernatorial candidates who won the endorsement were eager to highlight it.
“I’m pro-life and grateful for this endorsement; respect for life extends to the lives of our foster children, homeless people, those suffering from mental illness and our neglected seniors,” conservative writer Bridget Barton tells WW. “I’m a Republican outsider and a woman of faith who views the life issue holistically. Our current politicians have failed to protect the lives of Oregonians of all ages, including the unborn.”
“Christine received Oregon Right to Life’s endorsement in her previous two runs for office and is honored to have their support once again in the race for governor,” says Trey Rosser, campaign manager for former state House Minority Leader Drazan.
“I will always choose life over death,” says Dr. Bud Pierce in a video statement announcing the endorsement. “From conception to natural death, I will support pregnant women, and I will always support life.”
Pulliam tells WW that he has an impeccable record on pro-life issues.
“I’m proudly pro-life and proudly the only one of three dozen candidates unafraid to speak out clearly and consistently for the unborn,” Pulliam said in a statement. “With a perfectly scored questionnaire, one would have expected to receive the endorsement, but I certainly don’t need it to continue being the leading and strongest voice speaking out against Oregon’s extreme abortion laws. I have been lucky enough to be endorsed by over 60 local elected officials and Oregonians who know that I’m the right candidate to put Oregon back on track.”
It’s all the more notable that Pulliam did not receive an endorsement because Pierce, in his 2016 campaign, said at the time he was in favor of existing abortion policy. (He nonetheless earned an endorsement from Oregon Right to Life.)
It’s not clear if any other candidates also received the endorsement. Oregon Right to Life officials say they allow candidates to announce the endorsement themselves. A representative of the group did not answer questions about how the group determines which candidates it endorses.
Update: The post was updated to include Bob Tiernan.