“… (Emken) takes a gratuitous swipe at our faith even putting Mormon in boldface,” wrote Elayne Harmer in an email blast sent out today. “It’s a none-too-subtle appeal to religious prejudice, and I find it repugnant.” (She also asked for contributions to her husband’s campaign in the email.)
The Emken mailer shows part of a Dec. 9 article from the Mormon Times, where Harmer was quoted saying he intended to run for the 11th District. Harmer had just lost the special 10th District election in November.
Elayne Harmer picked up on the fact that Emken most likely intended to convey more than the fact that her husband is running for his third congressional campaign. Some evangelicals and Catholics still view Mormonism with great suspicion. Even former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has endorsed Harmer, suffered from what his own staff called the TMT, or “The Mormon Thing.”
David Harmer is not running overtly as a Mormon nor has he hidden it. He has collected substantial numbers of contributions from members of the Mormon community.
Emken, on the other hand, is running openly as a devout, evangelical Christian.
The mailer was never intended to highlight Harmer’s religion, said Emken spokeswoman Nancy Tengler.
“We chose the Mormon Times article because it was the most recent after the District 10 election,” Tengler said. “The Mormon Times is a reputable newspaper. I don’t understand the protestations. If anyone is making this about religion, it is Harmer.”
But Tengler also said the content of the Mormon Times article was intended to reflect what she describes as Harmer’s “manifest destiny” campaign platform. In the article, Harmer was quoted as saying he was running for Congress because he was “prompted by the Spirit” and that “American Mormons must hoist the Title of Liberty.”
Will the voters care about either of these candidate’s religious views? We’ll find out.
Here is Emken’s mailer.