NARAL Endorses Chris Murphy In Connecticut Senate Race, Breaking With EMILY's List

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is interviewed by the media after a debate in Storrs,
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is interviewed by the media after a debate in Storrs, Conn., Monday, April 9, 2012. Five Democrats are vying for the party's endorsement in Connecticut's U.S. Senate race to ultimately fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The U.S. Senate race in Connecticut has caused a split between two prominent pro-choice groups, which are now backing different Democratic candidates in the race.

On Thursday, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC announced that it was throwing its support behind Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in the Democratic primary, which is taking place on Tuesday.

"As the U.S. House of Representatives wages a War on Women, we have relied on the U.S. Senate to be the firewall," said NARAL President Nancy Keenan. "We must elect pro-choice leaders like Chris Murphy to the Senate so that he can help defend the values of freedom and privacy shared by Connecticut's women and families. We are proud to support his candidacy and will make sure our Connecticut members know that defeating Linda McMahon is essential to protecting the full range of women’s reproductive health choices."

Murphy also has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

In December, however, the group EMILY's List endorsed Susan Bysiewicz, Murphy's competitor in the Democratic primary. EMILY's List is devoted to electing pro-choice Democratic women.

"In an election year where control of the Senate is up for grabs, women are leading the way towards victory for Democrats. Susan Bysiewicz has the tenacity and strength to be a great Senator for Connecticut," Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, said at the time.

NARAL, of course, is jumping into the race much later than EMILY's List did. The move likely reflects a calculation on NARAL's part that Murphy is more likely to win on Tuesday.

In 2008, it chose to back Barack Obama in the Democratic primary when it became clearer that he was going to be the nominee, angering EMILY's List since the endorsement came before Hillary Clinton was out of the race.

Pro-wrestling magnate Linda McMahon is competing against former Rep. Chris Shays for the Republican nomination. McMahon is leading in the polls. The GOP primary will be held on Sept. 11.



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