Cicilline surrogates hitting Gemma, Doherty on abortion rights

Jul 24, 2012

As Congressman David Cicilline tries to battle back from miserable poll ratings and more fallout from his time at City Hall, his campaign is using a series of surrogates to rap primary challenger Anthony Gemma and Republican candidate Brendan Doherty as out of touch on abortion rights.

The latest example is an email sent this afternoon by state Representative Edith Ajello of Providence”s East Side, pointing to endorsements for Cicilline by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts.

As predicted months back, the tactic is one of tying Cicilline’s opponents (the unmentioned Doherty) to DC Republicans.

After two years, we’ve seen exactly what Republican control of Congress looks like. And it doesn’t look good for women’s health or reproductive freedom. In 2011, House Republicans voted on more anti-choice legislation than they had in over a decade. Now in 2012, they are continuing their efforts to undermine access to birth control, reproductive health care and a woman’s right to choose.

Ajello goes on to call Gemm a “self-funding primary opponent” who ”is desperately trying to rewrite history and claim that he supports reproductive freedoms. But he ran as an anti-choice candidate in 2010 and as recently as a month ago was referring to himself as pro-life.”

I’ve asked Gemma spokesman Alex Morash for comment and will post it if he gets back.  

Doherty has responded with his own effort to cultivate more women voters.

Doherty’s campaign manager, Ian Prior, says the Republican opposes federally funded abortions, “but not restricting access to contraceptives.”

Prior says the abortion debate is “an issue where you’re not going to convince one side to switch over to the other side. Brendan certainly understands that it’s not a black and white issue, and he’s said many times, he’s a social conservartive, but he’s not a social crusader.

“He’s going to Congress with the goal of hopefully creating an economic landscape that will improve the economy in America and in Rhode Island.”