- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2008

RICHMOND (AP) — The General Assembly’s most outspoken and persistent abortion foe yesterday announced his bid this year for a U.S. Senate seat.

Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, said in a Capitol Square press conference that his Republican rival, former Gov. James S. Gil-more III, is too soft on the abortion issue.

“I am the only candidate in this race who will protect — and as is defended by my public record — the right to life of unborn children, period,” Mr. Marshall said. “Neither of my two opponents will do that.”

They are running for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. John W. Warner, 80, who announced in August he would not seek a sixth term.

Republicans will choose between Mr. Marshall and Mr. Gilmore in a June statewide convention. The nominee will face former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat who is unopposed.

Mr. Marshall said Mr. Gilmore’s support for abortions eight to 12 weeks after conception and his support of exceptions that allow abortions based on the mother’s health makes him unpalatable to socially conservative voters who President Reagan brought into the party.

“I don’t condemn him. I just don’t think that with those positions, you can possibly gather the support, the energy, the enthusiasm the dedication of the necessary element of the Reagan coalition to win against Mark Warner,” Mr. Marshall said.

Without that organized and committed bloc of the Republican constituency, he said, a Republican can’t defeat the popular and well-financed Mr. Warner.

Gilmore campaign spokeswoman Ana Gamonal said the summary of the former governor’s positions was incorrect. She said Mr. Gilmore thinks abortions should be allowed only through eight weeks, not 12. Beyond that, exceptions should be made only in “situations of the extreme” that put a woman’s life at risk.

Mr. Marshall, 63, won his House seat in 1991 and has won re-election eight times since from Prince William County, which remains conservative but where Democrats have won recently.

“I have attracted Democrats. I should win in Northern Virginia in areas that Republicans lose and Democrats win,” he said.

“This is nothing personal with Jim Gilmore. …I told him this is not about personalities, this is just about policy. I’ve never gone negative; I don’t intend to go negative,” Mr. Marshall said.

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