Terry Jeffrey

It was almost the perfect television ad for a conservative candidate, hitting cultural issues certain to drive a wedge between Middle American voters and liberal Democrats.

"A lifetime of Hoosier values, a southwest Indiana native, Brad Ellsworth knows faith and family comes first," said the narrator.

A series of photos flashed on the screen showing Ellsworth as a little boy, with his wife and daughter, chatting with seniors, carrying a shotgun in his hunting gear, working with teenage students and wearing the uniform of a law enforcement officer.

"Opposes abortion, and supports traditional marriage," the narrator continued, "a hunter who supports the Second Amendment, who will fight to protect our kids from violence and filth on TV and the Internet -- because for a local sheriff like Brad it's always about listening and putting families like yours first."

The ad never revealed the party to which Ellsworth belonged, but its culturally conservative message would surely burn the ears of any good San Francisco Democrat.

On Tuesday, Ellsworth defeated Rep. John Hostettler, the Indiana Republican. His victory helped Nancy Pelosi's Democrats take a majority in the House of Representatives.

Ellsworth was not the only Democratic challenger who defeated a Republican incumbent by running right on cultural issues. Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Rep. Chris Chocola, another Indiana Republican, the same way.

"I believe that being pro-life means promoting life at every stage, from conception until natural death," Donnelly said on his campaign Website. "I will always vote according to my faith and my conscience on life issues."

"I believe in and support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees us the right to possess guns," said Donnelly.

In North Carolina, former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler ran a similar campaign to defeat Republican Rep. Charles Taylor. Shuler shouted out his support for the Second Amendment and his opposition to the Supreme Court's infamous Kelo v. New London decision.

"I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case, and I will never support using eminent domain to take away any individual's private property for the benefit of another individual or corporation," Shuler said.

Like Ellsworth and Donnelly, Shuler is an outspoken pro-lifer. The New York Times even reported that Shuler did not hesitate when asked if he could envision the Democratic Party adopting a pro-life platform. "I'm pro-life and I'm part of the Democratic Party, so I hope it's part of the platform," he said. "Someone needs to lead."

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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