Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS-held US Congress Seat Up for Grabs Tomorrow in Arizona
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- The only congressional race in which an LDS-held seat is
in doubt will likely be decided tomorrow in Arizona's state primary. LDS
Church member Jeff Flake is battling three other contenders for the
Republican nomination for Arizona's 1st congressional district seat, now
held by another LDS Church member, Matt Salmon. Political reporters say that
whoever wins tomorrow is virtually certain to win the general election in
November, talking Salmon's place.
Observers in Arizona say that the race is a toss-up. Flake, the former
director of the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, is battling
fellow conservative Tom Liddy, son of Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy,
former Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio and cable television lobbyist
Susan Bitter Smith. In terms of issues, the Congressional Quarterly says
that all four have expressed similar themes of tax cuts, flat taxes and more
local control of federal education dollars. They have also raised similar
amounts of cash, and are running radio and TV ads. Smith might be a slight
front-runner, some think, because she started running ads before the others.
But Smith also touched off the controversy in the race two weeks ago when
she reportedly called Tom Liddy with damaging information about Flake's real
estate dealings. Liddy used the call to accuse Smith of breaking a "clean
campaign" pledge, and says he and Flake shredded the documents without
looking at them. On Monday both Smith and Liddy took, and passed, lie
detector tests about the incidents.
But in spite of this controversy, the race has garnered little attention,
with a poll taken two weeks ago by Arizona State University showing Smith
narrowly ahead, but also showing 42% of Republicans in the district undecided.
As far as the Mormon presence in the US Congress is concerned, the race
could have a significant impact. The Mormon delegation will already shrink
by one, from 17 to 16, due to the retirement of California congressman Ron
Packard. Incumbent Arizona congressman Salmon is also retiring, but a win by
Flake would keep the seat in the Mormon delegation.
Republicans Compete for Sure Shot in Ariz.
Washington Post 8Sep00 T2
By Emily Pierce: Congressional Quarterly