Having secured the Republican nomination for one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races, state Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer has joined the stampede of Colorado GOP candidates to the alleged ideological center, pivoting to appeal to general election voters for whom most of the issues candidates proudly embraced in the primary are now as repellent as they were necessary before. On no issue is Kirkmeyer more vulnerable in this obligatory about-face than abortion, where Kirkmeyer’s long record of “no-exceptions” support for banning abortion is a serious deficiency in the aftermath of the repeal of Roe v. Wade’s repeal.
After ex-GOP chairman Dick Wadhams tried to reinvent Kirkmeyer on the issue, laughably claiming Kirkmeyer “does not have a record of being an activist on abortion,” Kirkmeyer was caught scrubbing her campaign website of references to the issue entirely–all while telling reporters with a straight face that she has “been very transparent, very open about my position on abortion.” Most recently, Kirkmeyer tried to even further back away from her record, telling the Denver Post editorial board (who wound up endorsing Kirkmeyer’s opponent Rep. Yadira Caraveo):
Kirkmeyer described herself as a pro-life Catholic woman who believes life begins at the moment of conception.
“To me, it is about saving lives,” she said, adding that she could support an abortion ban at 20 weeks rather than at the moment an egg is fertilized. “I’m not an all-or-nothing person.” [Pols emphasis]
That’s a good segue into the new ad you can see above from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which features the very same Barbara Kirkmeyer proudly telling an audience in 2014 during Kirkmeyer’s last run for Congress that “I don’t agree to any exceptions to abortion.” As the Denver Post reported at the time, Kirkmeyer’s zero-compromise stand on abortion in 2014 was partly a response to Cory Gardner’s infamous feint to the center on abortion that year:
Delegates cheered both Kirkmeyer and Renfroe when they said they were pro-life and supported personhood and would never change. [Pols emphasis]
The dig was clearly intended at Buck, but it also implicates Gardner, who recently said it it was a mistake to support personhood, which gives rights to fertilized eggs.
The difference in 2014 was that voters had not yet seen Sen. Cory Gardner’s treachery play out to its conclusion–the overturning of Roe that in 2014 was considered impossible, until Gardner helped reshape in a single term in office the Supreme Court into a 6-3 conservative majority capable of doing the deed. Kirkmeyer, ironically, was one of the first Republicans to respond to Gardner’s repositioning on abortion as a candidate to succeed him in Congress in 2014. And for the purpose of gaining traction in the CD-4 congressional race, Kirkmeyer triangulated off Gardner to position herself as a no-exceptions anti-abortion hardliner.
It therefore no surprise to see Kirkmeyer trying–and–failing to pull off Gardner’s reinvention in 2022.
It’s not who she is. It never was.