By Andrew Davis
Many may know where candidates in the most contentious political races stand on some issues, but what about their stances regarding a woman's right to choose? Terry Cosgrove, a gay man who leads Personal PAC ( a bipartisan political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates to state and local office in Illinois ) weighed in on where some political candidates stand.
Governor: Cosgrove and Personal PAC are 'solidly behind Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn' in the gubernatorial ( and lieutenant governor's ) race. ' [ Blagojevich ] is one of the most pro-choice governors in the country, and he has been called that by leaders in the pro-choice movement,' Cosgrove stated.
Something else people need to keep in mind, Cosgrove added, is that the governor and lieutenant governor are voted on as a team. Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka has picked Joe Birkett as her running mate, and he is 'anti-abortion and anti-gay,' according to Cosgrove. 'For her to pick such a right-winger as her running mate is a slap in the face to a lot of different communities,' he stated. Moreover, he said, previous Republican governors such as Jim Edgar and George Ryan never felt compelled to have ultraconservative lieutenant governors. In addition, Cosgrove made a point of stressing that if something should happen to Topinka, Birkett would be leading the state: 'If she wins, she gives one of the most anti-gay, anti-choice leaders a platform for the next four years. [ Selecting Birkett ] reflects her true political beliefs.'
As for Green Party candidate Rich Whitney, Cosgrove stated that 'any vote for him is a vote for Judy Baar Topinka. To not vote for Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn would be a huge mistake. I hope that people learned their lesson with what Ralph Nader did in Florida in 2000 [ with George Bush and Al Gore ] .'
Treasurer: From a strictly pro-choice point of view, Personal PAC is behind Democratic wunderkind candidate Alexi Giannoulias. 'Alexi is 100 percent pro-choice,' Cosgrove said. 'Unfortunately, [ Republican opponent ] Christine Radogno has moved more to the right in recent years, and we supported her when she first ran for the Senate in 1996 against Bob Raica. However, she has started voting against us. So we're with Alexi 100 percent.'
Cook County Board President: 'We're strongly supporting Todd Stroger,' Cosgrove opined. 'We need to look at the issues on several different levels. Whatever has happened in the past is in the past. The two names on the ballot will be Todd Stroger and Tony Peraica—and Peraica is a total right-winger [ who's ] made some outrageous statements about choice. Recently, he was on a cruise with [ former Republican gubernatorial candidate ] Jim Oberweis and Peter Roskam. With Todd, he's voted 100 percent pro-choice in his years with the legislature. I think he'll do a great job as Cook County Board President. ... I don't think Peraica can be trusted. He mouths all of the right-wing propaganda very carefully.'
U.S. Congress: Although Personal PAC is not a federal PAC ( and, therefore, does not endorse candidates running in federal races ) , Cosgrove did say that 6th District Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth is pro-choice and that Roskam was 'an anti-choice leader [ when he was ] in the General Assembly.' Also, regarding 8th District opponents Melissa Bean ( Democrat ) and David McSweeney ( Republican ) , Cosgrove stated that the former is 100 percent pro-choice while the latter 'is as right-wing as they come; he's against abortion and even stem-cell research.'
Other races: There is a unique situation up in the 62nd District ( in Lake County ) where Personal PAC actually is behind both candidates. 'We're supporting Democrat Sharon Elman and Republican Sandy Cole for the open seat Bob Churchill left when he unsuccessfully ran for Congress. Elman and Cole are both 100 percent pro-choice.' Also, he stated that the contests for attorney general and secretary of state bear watching; concerning the latter race, Cosgrove informed Windy City Times that Republican candidate Dan Rutherford is 100 percent anti-choice while Democratic opponent Jesse White has established 'long-standing and unwavering' support of abortion rights. Lastly, Cosgrove said that Personal PAC has endorsed Greg Harris, who is running an uncontested race for the 13th Representative District. ( Harris was chosen as the candidate in a slate-making meeting in late August. )
Cosgrove concluded by saying that 'there are a lot of exciting races for the Illinois General Assembly. There are seven seats formerly held by right-wing Republicans that are now in play by candidates supported by Personal PAC. Picking up several seats will make a dramatic difference in the tone in Springfield.'