Abortion featured in first ad of Missouri governor's race

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The first ad of the 2008 governor's race is airing in parts of Missouri, as the Republican Party tries to establish Gov. Matt Blunt's credentials with pro-life voters.

The radio ad by the Missouri Republican Party praises Blunt as "pro-life" and labels his likely Democratic challenger, Attorney General Jay Nixon, as "pro-abortion."

It began airing Friday, the same day Blunt signed legislation imposing new state regulations on abortion clinics and barring abortion providers from teaching or supplying materials for sex education courses in public schools.

The party said Monday that the 60-second ad is airing "on select radio stations and in specific markets." Spokesman Paul Sloca said one of those areas is mid-Missouri, but he declined to elaborate further or reveal how much was spent on the ad.

Blunt had solid support from Missouri's anti-abortion contingent when he won election in 2004.

But since taking office, he has had an up-and-down relationship with Missouri Right to Life and some of the state's other leading pro-life organizations. That's largely because of Blunt's support for a form of human embryonic stem-cell research that critics claim clones and destroys human life at its earliest stages. Blunt supported a state constitutional amendment, narrowly passed by voters last fall, that guaranteed all federally allowed stem-cell research can occur in Missouri.

The ad is the first to directly contrast Blunt and Nixon in the context of the gubernatorial race. Blunt's campaign paid for radio and television ads last year that touted his accomplishments as governor, but those did not mention Nixon.

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