The Republican candidate for the 2nd District congressional seat said Wednesday that he is pro-choice.
"I think people have a very strong right to know where you stand on (this issue) in an unequivocal fashion," said Scott Morgan of Lawrence, during an interview with the Journal-World.
Morgan, who faces no Republican challenger in the Aug. 7 primary, is hoping to win the seat Democratic Rep. Jim Slattery has held since 1983.
"I have been surprised by, even in the rural districts, the strength people feel about this issue, particularly among women," said Morgan, who has been campaigning four days a week in northeast Kansas.
Morgan said Slattery has been on both sides of the abortion issue.
"I think that the incumbent has managed to play both sides of that issue to the detriment of his constituents, particularly among his constituents who are women," Morgan said.
"He's managed to say in the same sentence that he's pro-life and pro-choice. I think he says one thing when he's talking to his Catholic constituency up in Atchison and Leavenworth, and I think he says an entirely different thing when he's in Lawrence or Manhattan or Topeka," he said.
MORGAN, 33, vowed to expose Slattery's voting record on abortion-related measures. Morgan said he would explain his own pro-choice position during his campaign by outlining how he would have voted on various bills.
"Before Labor Day comes down they're (the public) going to know where I stand," he said, "and they're going to know pretty straightforward.
"I didn't get into this thing to dance around issues."
Morgan, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and Gov. Mike Hayden, said his pro-choice position did not conflict with his party affiliation or conservative stance on other issues.
"I respect those who disagree with me enough that I think I want them to know in a straightforward fashion," he said.
Morgan also reiterated his call for a campaign financing limit and a series of debates with Slattery.
"HE IS NOT even responding," Morgan said of the $300,000 financing limit that he proposed.
"I can't even get an awswer," he said, "and to me that shows the arrogance and the disrespect that he is showing the average voter.
"I think incumbents of any kind . . . are incredibly arrogant when it comes to their seat. They don't like to come back and debate, they don't like to talk about spending limits, they want to take all the out-of-state PAC (political action committee) money that they can."
Morgan said he believes Slattery is not taking the campaign seriously because he has not agreed to debate.
"We've contacted them a number of times and they say `We'll get back to you as soon as we can,'" Morgan said. "Well, they aren't, and I think they need to get serious about this campaign."
HE ALSO criticized Slattery for only "appearing" to make tough choices.
"He talks about cutting a program such as the B-2 (stealth) bomber as being a tough choice," Morgan said. "Well, I don't know how it's a tough choice, because it wouldn't affect his district."
Morgan says he has received a warm response on the campaign trail, but admits trying to win Slattery's seat will be tough.
"It's a long ways to go. I've got to build up a strong base," he said. "But I think I bring qualifications and a message that the Republicans are looking for."
The 2nd district covers 13 counties in northeast Kansas.