Democratic challenger campaigns on anti-abortion
One Democratic caucus candidate is sidestepping economic and other issues and said abortion is his important topic this election season.
Randall Terry, a 2012 Democratic caucus candidate and longtime anti-abortion activist, stresses anti-abortion policies while on the campaign trail.
"The message for Iowa City is this: We have to stop killing our babies," he said at a campaign stop in on Thursday outside City Hall.
While no one came to hear him speak, his message fell on those passing by City Hall.
Many of Terry's political stances on social issues are typically categorized as ideologically conservative. But while he opposes increased tax rates for wealthy Americans and favors expansion of nuclear energy, he also favors unions and legalizing marijuana.
Terry founded Operation Rescue, a Christian anti-abortion group, and he has been a long-time activist on the issue.
He said his main agenda is to deflect support away from Obama.
"I can't defeat [Obama] in the Democratic primary," Terry said. "But I can cause his defeat in the general election."
Richard Parker, a professor of Public Policy in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, said Terry is not a traditional candidate.
"I think he's a protest candidate," he said.
By campaigning, Terry said his message has the potential to reach more Americans.
"As the nation's economy impoldes… the message that we bring will resonate more and more people," he said.
Terry Dahms, the chairman of the Johnson County Democrats, said he does not support Terry's candidacy.
"He's not a viable candidate," Dahms said. "Democrats don't really have much time [or] much patience for this."
Bob Anderson, the head of the Johnson County Republican Central Committee, said he had not heard of Terry's bid for candidacy.
Terry said he has a specific strategy to spread his position on abortion to the electorate.
"We're going to show television ads of dead babies," he said. "Aborted babies. Graphic, horrifying images on television. On every TV station in Iowa."
However, University of Iowa political science Associate Professor Tim Hagle said focusing on graphic images can have repercussions.
"Even people who are anti-abortion will often reject that extreme," he said. "… You even have issues like TV stations that just won't run those images."
Supporting a decrease in dependence on foreign oil and opposing a raise in the national debt ceiling, Terry said he thinks he is the best one for the job.
"I do intend to become president of the United States if the people of this country will elect me," he said. "We're committed to this for the long haul."
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