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John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Sun Dec 14 00:06:27 MST 2008


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Kansas State Senator Switches From Democrat to Republican Over Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 10, 2008

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Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) -- A veteran Democratic state legislator switched 
parties on Thursday from Democrat to Republican because of his pro-life 
position on abortion. Sen. Mark Gilstrap faced opposition in his primary 
election from an opponent backed by pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and 
the Democratic leader in the Senate.

"I am leaving the Democratic Party of Kansas today, a party that I have 
served my entire life, because the Democratic Party no longer tolerates 
dissenting points of view," Gilstrap said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained.

"I dared to cross the Democratic leadership by voting against the party 
line in Topeka. I voted my conscience on issues like abortion," he added. 
"For doing so, Sebelius and her allies targeted me for political 
assassination."

Sebelius supported a liberal challenger against Gilstrap in the 2008 
Democratic primary election. Sebelius raised money to defeat Gilstrap, and 
the Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, hired people 
to walk Gilstrap's district to campaign against him.

"I have humbly served Kansas Senate District 5 for twelve years and have 
consistently kept my eye on what was important for my district and the 
state of Kansas-even if it meant disagreeing with the governor," he said.

"In today's Kansas Democratic Party, that is no longer acceptable. 
Dissenting points of view are not allowed. Pro-life Democrats are 
particularly despised," Gilstrap complained.

Gilstrap said the Democratic party used to feature a large number of 
conservatives but that it has become dominated by abortion advocates.

"There used to be such a thing as conservative Democrats in Kansas. But 
they are rapidly becoming extinct," he said. "The party has shifted 
radically to the left, and Kathleen Sebelius has led that shift."

Gilstrap has held the Kansas City legislative seat for more than a decade.

After Sebelius came under fire for backing Gilstrap's opponent, a spokesman 
said, "The governor wants someone here who shares those priorities."

Gilstrap also came under fire for endorsing Republican Phill Kline for 
attorney general in his 2006 race against a candidate Sebelius backed who 
eventually had to resign his position after a scandalous affair.

Mary Kay Culp, the head of Kansas for Life, told LifeNews.com previously 
that Sebelius is targeting pro-life advocates in the legislature because 
they have tried to hold her accountable for abuses in the abortion industry.

"Senator Mark Gilstrap is a man of integrity. He is truly pro-life. 
Governor Sebelius has singled him out for defeat simply because he is 
pro-life," she said.

Culp said Gilstrap represents the old-style Democrats who valued faith and 
family above pro-abortion politics.

"The actions of the Governor underscore the fact that the leaders of 
today's Democratic party have traded those original Democratic values for 
abortion industry money," Culp said.

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