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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 17, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 11Sep00

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


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