Sunday, October 01, 2000

Candidate says abortion stand distorted

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring said his political opponent is using a whisper campaign to distort his stance on abortion.

        Mr. Buring, a Villa Hills Democrat running for reelection, made the charge against Republican Bill Crockett after learning of a phone message a key Crockett campaign operative left for Edgewood residents Dr. Steve and Ellen Hiltz Thursday.

        In the message Todd McMurtry, Mr. Crockett's campaign manager, asked if he can post a campaign sign in the Hiltz yard. The couple is active in Republican politics and often hosts fund-raisers in their home.

        But the Hiltzes are supporting Mr. Buring in the commonwealth attorney's race.

        In the message, Mr. McMurtry calls Mr. Crockett “a pro-abortion Democrat.”

        Mrs. Hiltz said Friday she disapproves of that kind of campaigning.

        “I'm just sick to death ... that they're running the commonwealth attorney's race on this one issue,” she said.

        “Don Buring is a pro-life candidate. And that has absolutely nothing to do with the office of commonwealth attorney anyway.”

        The commonwealth attor ney is the state's top criminal prosecutor in a county. Mr. Buring has been in office since 1984.

        Contacted Friday, Mr. McMurtry denied distorting Mr. Buring's stance on abortion or running a whisper campaign against him.

        He said he referred to Mr. Buring as pro-abortion because of the endorsement that Northern Kentucky Right to Life supplied in support of Mr. Crockett, a Fort Wright resident and the chief prosecutor in the Kenton County attorney's office.

        Northern Kentucky Right to Life “has criticized Buring for supporting pro-abortionists for political office, and putting party above principal,” Mr. Crockett said. “Don Buring is clearly out of touch with what is important to residents of Kenton County.”

        But Mr. Buring, a Roman Catholic, said he has always opposed abortion and noted that in past campaigns he has been endorsed by Northern Kentucky Right to Life.

        “I respect the sanctity of life and the right of the unborn,” he said Friday. “I have never advocated a pro-abortion position, and for anyone to say that is at the very least misinformed and at the most ... is a distortion of the truth.”

        Mr. Buring said Northern Kentucky Right to Life did not endorse him this time because he has supported Gov. Paul Patton. Mr. Patton has vetoed legislation designed to curb abortions.

        “A candidate's view on abortion is one issue which I consider, but not the only issue I consider,” when deciding whether to support a candidate, Mr. Buring said.


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