Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Is John O’bannon Too Conservative For The 73rd?

One of the hotly contested House of Delegates races in the Richmond area is in the 73rd District, where University of Richmond professor Tom Shields is trying to unseat incumbent Republican John O’bannon. For reasons too complicated to discuss here, I attended a debate between these candidates last month. Just to see what these guys stand for, after the debate I looked at their campaign websites.

On Doctor O’bannon’s site (John is a physician), he brags about his record, including three items that show that he “Shares Our Virginia Values”—

· 100% rating from the Family Foundation
· “A” rating from the National Rifle Association
· Never voted for a tax increase

I have no intention of taking on the NRA (they being heavily armed), and (since he’s a Virginia Republican) I’m not surprised that John has never voted for a tax increase. But let’s look at this Family Foundation 100% rating.

As you know, the Family Foundation is a conservative lobbying group that is pro-life, pro-family, pro-parental authority, pro-constitutional government and pro-religious liberty. Each year the Foundation issues a report card rating the members of Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates. As explained in its report card, a 100% rating means that a legislator voted “profamily” on all of the foundation’s chosen bills, and a 0% indicates that a legislator voted the "wrong" way on those same bills. In the House of Delegates, nearly all of the legislators that were rated 100% are Republicans (Lacey Putney of the 19th District is an Independent), while all those that rated low (nobody was so bad as to rate a zero) were Democrats.

So, how did you have to vote (and how did John O’bannon vote) to rate a 100% rating from the Family Foundation? These are some of John O’bannon’s “profamily” votes:

· John voted to require abortion clinics to provide information that fetuses experience pain.

· John voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

· John voted to prohibit state funding of embryonic stem cell research.

· John (a physician) voted for a two-year delay in implementing the recommendation that 6th grade girls receive the HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.

· John voted for offering women seeking an abortion an ultrasound of their fetus.

· John voted against adding sexual orientation to the state’s non-discrimination in hiring law.

· John voted against including life insurance in Virginia’s domestic partner benefits law.

Based on this record, is John O’bannon a bit too conservative for voters of the 73rd District? In less than four weeks we'll know.

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