A Senate candidate has legally changed his name to Pro-Life and will appear on the ballot that way this year, state election officials say.
As Marvin Pro-Life Richardson, the organic strawberry farmer from Letha, 30 miles northwest of Boise, was denied the use of his middle name when he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 because the state's policy bars the use of slogans on the ballot.
Now, though, officials in the Idaho secretary of state's office say they have no choice because Pro-Life is his full and only name. He says he will run for the highest state office on the ballot every two years for the rest of his life, advocating murder charges for doctors who perform abortions and for women who obtain the procedure.
"I think it's just and I think it's proper to have Pro-Life on the ballot," he told the Idaho Press-Tribune of Nampa. "If I save one baby's life, it's worth it."
Pro-Life, 66, says he hopes to get 5 percent of the vote as an independent running for the seat held by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, but not everyone who shares his views is thrilled about his campaign.
David Ripley, executive director of Idaho Chooses Life, says he knows and respects Pro-Life but fears some voters may think Pro-Life is a position rather than a candidate and mistakenly mark their ballots both for him and for another anti-abortion candidate for the Senate, thus nullifying their choices.
"I'm pretty concerned about it," Ripley said. "I think that could cause a lot of confusion out there ... (Its) more likely to undermine the pro-life movement by having a lot of pro-life votes discounted."
Others running for Craig's seat include Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a Republican who also opposes abortion, and pro-choice former Rep. Larry LaRocco, D-Idaho.
Craig is not seeking re-election to a fourth term after being arrested in June in a restroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. An undercover police officer said Craig tapped his feet and swiped his hand under a stall divider in a way that signaled he wanted sex.
After news of his arrest and guilty plea to disorderly became public, Craig denied wrongdoing and his lawyers have asked a court of appeals to vacate his guilty plea.