Conservatives aim to spark death penalty debate among fellow Republicans

WASHINGTON  (Gray DC) -- 31 states have capital punishment on the books.

A conservative group is claiming progress in its push to eliminate the death penalty, while sparking a debate inside the Republican Party.
Mark Hyden, with a group called Conservative Concerned About the Death Penalty, said, “The Republican momentum to end capital punishment is real.”
Hyden made the claim during a late October press conference, in Washington D.C.

Hyden also said, “The death penalty is a violation of our principles of valuing life, fiscal responsibility, and limited government.”
Hyden said his organization is trashing the myth all Republicans are pro-death penalty.
Former Republican state senator Colby Coash, from Nebraska, is part of this group, but knows first-hand, change is not easy.

Coash said, “Well I think there’s a way to go.”
In 2015, Coash was among the Nebraska Republicans who helped pass a death penalty repeal.
However, the efforts were undone by Nebraskans voting, overwhelmingly, to keep capital punishment.
Coash said, “I mean educating 49 senators or 80-some house members in a particular state is certainly an easier thing to do than educating a whole state.”
The group says the death penalty has egregious flaws.
They say it’s not a good crime deterrent, it’s more expensive than life in prison, and there’s a risk of executing innocent people.

Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) said, “We shouldn’t base punishment based upon what’s the cheapest, the cheapest type of punishment is let them go.”
Poe said, as a former lawyer and judge, he’s seen just how gruesome and evil crimes – like first degree murder, can be.

Poe said, “Those people have earned the death penalty, they deserve the death penalty for what they did. And maybe this new group of conservatives doesn’t realize who these people [convicted murders] really are.”
Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty says it will keep advocating for changes at the state-level, all across the country.

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