Polygamy controversy roils Arizona race

Independent candidate raises sect as issue
AP, Oct. 14, 2002
http://www.cnn.com/

PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) — A remote enclave of <A HREF="http://www.apologeticsindex.org/p05.html" "javascript:void(0);" onmouseover="return overlib('Click for research resources on this subject’, CAPTION, ‘Link Info…’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>polygamists on the border with Utah is roiling the race for Arizona governor.

Richard Mahoney, an independent trailing badly in the polls, has ditched mainstream issues and is trying to woo voters by accusing the front-runners of being soft on multiple marriages.

He launched an ad campaign last week against Republican Matt Salmon, saying the candidate’s <A HREF="http://www.apologeticsindex.org/m04.html" "javascript:void(0);" onmouseover="return overlib('Click for research resources on this subject’, CAPTION, ‘Link Info…’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>Mormon faith would prevent him from going after a church offshoot that encourages polygamy and has been accused of sex abuse.

The sect, the <A HREF="http://www.apologeticsindex.org/f05.html" "javascript:void(0);" onmouseover="return overlib('Click for research resources on this subject’, CAPTION, ‘Link Info…’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is based in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah. It is fighting allegations ranging from rape and domestic violence to welfare fraud.

Although the Fundamentalist Church broke away from the Mormons more than a century ago, Mahoney says Salmon has a conflict of interest.

“(Salmon) hasn’t done anything as of yet so why would I believe he would do anything in the future?” asked Mahoney’s campaign manager, Paul Koerner.

The Mormons — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — rejected polygamy in 1890 and excommunicate bigamists.

Another Mahoney ad accused Democratic candidate Janet Napolitano, the state’s attorney general, of turning a blind eye to the sect and failing to protect women in Colorado City.

Both ads start with footage of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, going up in flames and says the crimes allegedly committed by the sect are “worse than Waco.”

It’s too early to tell whether the ads have had any impact on voters. A poll released in early October showed Napolitano with a slight edge over Salmon, and Mahoney, the former Arizona secretary of state, trailing far behind with about 8 percent support.

Napolitano has defended her record, saying a joint investigation with Utah authorities has resulted in bigamy and illegal sex charges against a Hildale police officer. She says the sect’s secrecy makes the probe a slow and painstaking task.

Salmon, a former congressman, has hit back hard against the ad targeting him.

“The criminal and immoral circumstances your ad refers to are despicable and ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Salmon said in a letter to Mahoney. “Your suggestion that I would believe otherwise is also immoral, and far beneath you as a person.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday October 15, 2002.
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