Aug 31, 2022 - News

GOP candidate Kirkmeyer scrubs abortion stance from campaign website

Illustration of an elephant trunk holding a pink rubber eraser.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Colorado GOP congressional candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer scrubbed her hardline anti-abortion stance from her campaign website, part of a broader overhaul to moderate her image.

Why it matters: It's longstanding practice for candidates in both parties to modify their rhetoric for general-election audiences, but this year's messaging gymnastics are next-level, Axios' Alexi McCammond and Andrew Solender write.

State of play: The Supreme Court's June reversal of Roe v. Wade makes abortion a centerpiece issue in Colorado. And Democrats sense momentum on the issue after big wins in a Kansas abortion referendum and a special House election in New York.

Zoom in: In Colorado's hotly contested and newly drawn 8th District β€” where polls show Republicans can win β€” Kirkmeyer removed language saying she would "defend the sanctity of life" and took down a video of her speaking at an anti-abortion rally earlier this year.

  • The positions helped the Weld County state senator emerge from a crowded GOP primary contest, but now could hurt her in the November midterm, particularly in a district with a large Latino population that supports abortion access.

What they're saying: Kirkmeyer spokesperson Alan Philp told Axios the changes came after the campaign did "a complete redesign" of its website.

  • Other issues removed were education, cost of living, agriculture and more. The site now just highlights her stances on spending, energy and crime. "We are focused on the three issues in which voters have expressed the most interest," Philp added.
  • Kirkmeyer now labels herself as "Colorado tough" instead of as a "conservative fighter."

Between the lines: Kirkmeyer is a prominent voice against abortion access and says she "unambiguously" believes life begins at conception.

  • She wrote in a voter questionnaire: "What kind of nation and a people do not defend the most vulnerable and innocent among us? I think this issue goes to the very moral and christian foundation our country was built on."

The other side: Her Democratic opponent, state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, is a pediatrician who supports abortion access and backed a law earlier this year to codify it.

  • Kirkmeyer's "spent her 30 years as a politician pushing her own extreme agenda that she knows will harm hard-working Colorado families β€” which is exactly why she is now running away from her own long held, extremist anti-abortion views," Caraveo said in a statement.
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