A week and a half ago Maryland’s Republican governor Bob Ehrlich selected Kristen Cox, 36-year-old BYU alumna and former missionary to Brazil, as his running mate for his coming re-election bid. The current lieutenant governor, Michael Steele, a Catholic who attends mass regularly, is running for the U.S. Senate. According to the Baltimore Sun, Lt. Gov. Steele opposes abortion and the death penalty which are supported by Gov. Ehrlich. Sister Cox, an the other hand, is a team player. On abortion she says, “Personally I don’t condone it; however, it is the law of the land” which sounds something like John Kerry’s position. She also supports Ehrlich’s so far fruitless efforts to bring slot machines to Maryland, though she’s also personally opposed to gambling.
It all brings back to mind a couple other Mormon lieutenant gubernatorial hopefuls from 1978.
That was the year Devoe Heaton, father of eight, and Myron Leavitt, father of eleven, each won his party’s primary and faced each other in November to see who would become lieutenant governor of Nevada. It was a close race, and Brother Leavitt, the Democrat, won, and the license plate bearing only the numeral “2” went on the family van. Now, lieutenant governor is an office without a lot to do, but one thing it is does is break ties in the state senate. Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would come before the next session of the legislature, and Myron Leavitt promised that if called upon to break a tie, he would follow the results of a referendum question on the matter. Question No. 5 appeared on the ballot along with the choice between Brother Heaton and Brother Leavitt and asked “Do you recommend that the Nevada Legislature ratify the following proposed amendment to the United States Constitution, commonly known as the equal rights amendment?” Two-thirds of Nevada voters answered “No.” In the state senate, ratification did tie, and Myron Leavitt, voting against ratification, broke the tie. In other tie votes, Leavitt voted to retain capital punishment and for a restrictive abortion bill. Do they still make Democrats like that anywhere? In some states, it’s hard to even find Republicans like that. (See first paragraph above.)