Seaman recently sent the above mailer to voters. The exact details of what Nelson is being accused of on the postcard is not totally coherent.
Thursday night, Seaman used her personal Facebook account (not her campaign page) to defend the mailing.
A few red-flags hit me right away:
- Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the mainline LDS Church, do not refer to local leaders as church elders. So a local bishop would never be referred to a “an elder in the church.”
- Anti-Mormon groups typically overuse the term “elder.” I think this is often done to make mainline Mormons seem more like polygamist sects and cults that have broken off from Mormonism. This leads me to believe that Seaman relied on anti-Mormon or ex-Mormon group to gather these testimonials.
- Prominently featuring an LDS meetinghouse (a common feature in suburban Las Vegas) is clearly an attempt to take a shot at Nelson as a Mormon, and Mormons in general, despite Seaman’s denial.
- The ad mostly highlights that as an LDS bishop, Nelson was involved in some highly emotional and contentious family matters. This was likely true. It is also something LDS bishops do on a completely voluntary basis.
In addition to clear Mormon-baiting, the ad also comes across as quite unprofessional and juvenile.
It also seems odd in a Republican primary that a conservative candidate would actively seek to attack a candidate for his Mormon leadership status. Mormons make up a very large segment of Republican primary voters in suburban Las Vegas.
I can’t see this mailer doing anything other than galvanizing Mormon-voter support for Nelson and likely rallying them to turn out during the June 14 Nevada primary. Early-voting has already begun. It will be interested to see how this particular race turns out.
As the Democratic nominee for Congress in Wyoming four years ago, I experienced a lot of backlash from Democrats because of my active membership in the LDS Church. Other than a few emails and occasional antagonism in town hall meetings, the anti-Mormonism against me usually came in the form of whispering campaigns.