Udall's focus on reproductive rights heckled by member of his own party

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., left, Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, right.

Story highlights

  • Democratic Sen. Mark Udall has focused much of his campaign in Colorado on reproductive rights
  • A heckler shouted at a Sunday rally: "That's not the only thing you stand for! Jesus Christ!"
  • It's just the latest blow Udall has suffered for his intense focus on the issue
A top Colorado Democratic donor has had enough of Sen. Mark Udall's campaign focus on women's reproductive rights.
As Udall (D-Colo.) delivered a line on the issue in his stump speech Sunday during the final hours of a tight campaign against Republican challenger Cory Gardner, a heckler interrupted by shouting: "That's not the only thing you stand for! Jesus Christ!"
An account of the exchange was detailed by The Guardian. According to the newspaper, Udall responded: "I'm sorry?"
And then the man shouted again: "That's not the only thing you stand for!"
The Guardian identified the heckler as Leo Beserra, who became a millionaire on Wall Street and for years has been a hefty donor to Colorado Democrats. He's given at least $9,800 to Democrats this year alone.
He's far from the first person to criticize Udall's campaign for its focus on the issue -- largely targeting Gardner's previous support (he reversed his stance this year) for a "personhood" measure that would have had the effect of outlawing abortion.
The issue could help Udall turn out votes among women, a key Democratic constituency, who live in Denver's suburbs. They could be key in a neck-and-neck race: A Quinnipiac poll released Monday showed Gardner with a 45% to 43% lead over Udall.
But the state's largest newspaper, The Denver Post, called Udall's campaign "obnoxious" in an editorial endorsing Gardner in the Senate race.
"Rather than run on his record, Udall's campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives," the newspaper editorialized. "Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince."
Udall's campaign argued the idea that the campaign has focused solely on women's reproductive rights is a "misunderstanding."
Udall spokesman Chris Harris said the campaign has aired TV ads on immigration reform, flood recovery, veterans' affairs, the National Security Agency and more. He said on Monday, Udall was at a press conference with several other top Colorado Democratic officials on immigration reform.
"This campaign has focused on a wide range of issues. Those who imply otherwise are simply wrong," he said.
Still, Harris defended the campaign's efforts to highlight women's reproductive rights, calling it an area of "fundamental difference" between Udall and Gardner.
"These are not simply social issues, as many people talk about," he said. "They are fundamental issues of freedom that affect every single aspect of not just a woman's but a family's lives, be it economic, professional and personal."