Michelman May Run For Senate Seat in Pa.

Associated Press
Saturday, March 11, 2006

Abortion rights advocate Kate Michelman said she will decide soon whether to enter the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race as an independent, a bid that could cause more of a problem for the Democratic challenger than for Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

Michelman's entrance in the race could erode support for state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., an antiabortion candidate who is expected to easily win the Democratic primary in May. For months Casey has led Santorum, the third-ranking Senate Republican leader, in opinion polls, and national Democrats consider the seat one of their best chances for a pickup.

Michelman, a former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said there is angst in her camp over Casey's endorsement of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. She said Democratic Party leaders promised that Casey, if elected, would not vote to confirm justices opposed to abortion.

"He's a perfectly fine person, but not someone we can trust to defend our rights, not at all," Michelman said in an interview. "If that upsets the political establishment, so be it."

Casey replied in a statement that Democrats are stronger when "we work together on the many issues where we have common ground."

Michelman, who has houses in central Pennsylvania and Washington, said late Thursday that she would make her decision "very soon."

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