Summarized by Kent Larsen
An LDS Candidate's Hunger Strike for Debate
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- If you think it is not fair that US presidential
candidate Ralph Nader has been excluded from the presidential debates, you
may also agree with Jeremy Friedbaum. The candidate for Governor of Utah
from the conservative Independent American Party is on a 40-day hunger
strike seeking a place in the debates between Republican incumbent Governor
Mike Leavitt and his Democratic challenger Bill Orton. Like Leavitt and
Orton, Friedbaum is an LDS Church member.
So far, Friedbaum has been on his hunger strike for 26 days, in the process
loosing more than 36 lbs. All he has taken since the strike began on
September 8th at 10 pm is herbal tea and vitamins. He isn't seeing a doctor
during his hunger strike because no doctor would participate in his plan,
"They thought I was nuts," he said. "They said, 'Don't do it.' "
Friedbaum is a convert to the LDS Church from Judaism who worries about the
affect his strike might have on his four children should he die. "My own
father died when I was 4 years old," he said. "The last thing I want to do
is have that happen to my children." But he believes that his cause is just.
In a previous campaign, in the Republican primary against Representative
Chris Cannon, Friedbaum was painted as a religious zealot. And his
affiliation with the Independent American Party reinforces that view because
of its basis in religious and constitutional philosophies. Friedbaum's
positions include advocating the state taking controll of all public lands
and making direct payments to parents to educate children as they wish. He
also favors designating English as the official language for the state and
opposes "forced" flouridation.
But while his "publicity stunt" has gained some attention in the media,
KSL-TV, one of several television and radio stations sponsoring the debates,
isn't persuaded to add Friedbaum to the debate because he has support among
just two percent of the population according to recent polls. KSL Managing
Editor Con Psarras says they won't allow the hunger strike to affect their
decision. "Do we feel obligated to save his life by inviting him to the
debates? No," said Psarras.
Governor hopeful eschews food for principle
Deseret News 3Oct00 T2
By Dennis Romboy: Deseret News staff writer
Candidate is protesting exclusion from debates