A particular detail from last night's GOP U.S. Senate primary debate worth revisiting, as the Durango Herald's Joe Hanel caught but apparently no other press coverage did:
Buck, Hill and Stephens all said they supported the personhood amendment on the 2012 ballot, which would have declared that human life begins at conception – a legal change that would lead to bans on abortion and many forms of birth control.
We also noted the answer to this question in our debate live blog.
To be clear, the question was actually in error from the moderators of the Denver Post, as the "Personhood" abortion ban ballot measure didn't actually make the 2012 ballot. In 2012, the "Personhood" initiative was disqualified by Secretary of State Scott Gessler for want of the necessary petition signatures. The last time this initiative appeared on the statewide Colorado ballot was in 2010 as Amendment 62, where it failed by just over 70% of the vote.
Neither the Denver Post, which hosted last night's debate, nor the Associated Press or the Colorado Springs Gazette mentioned that all three principal Republican primary candidates for the U.S. Senate all support the "Personhood" abortion ban. Given the pivotal role this issue has played in previous elections, and the controversy the "Personhood" initiative has generated within the Republican Party, that's astonishing to us. It may not hurt during the Republican primary to endorse a total ban on abortion, but in the general election, this is a massive liability. We'll say it again: Colorado has been a pro-choice state for years, with polling showing that trend growing every year. Recall that Ken Buck tried to flip-flop away from support for "Personhood" toward the end of his 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate, which he has now reversed again by re-endorsing it in 2014. Amy Stephens undercuts her claim to be more electable than Buck or Hill by endorsing this hugely unpopular initiative.
The last few elections in Colorado are littered with failed GOP candidates who ran aground at least in part over "Personhood"–either angering anti-abortion activists by not embracing it, or the rest of the electorate by doing so. Last night made it clear again that this albatross is still very much wrapped around the Republican Party's neck.