THE OBJECT OF THEIR DESIRE

WOULD-BE POWER COUPLE TOM AND LINDA RAWLES WANT VOTES MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

The supervisors assure Turley they're not nervous, and Katsenes tells Tom he'll defer to him, since it's his budget. "You keep your wits about you, and I'll cue up for you," he says.

But during the broadcast, Tom barely gets a word in, as Katsenes rambles on about issues only tangentially related to the budget.

Tom's a good sport about the whole thing.
He guides the black Jag into his parking space at the county's Southeast complex and heads for the harshly fluorescent cafeteria where District 29 Republicans, Mesa conservatives, have gathered. He's not here to speak about the county, but about Linda.

When Linda announced her candidacy, he tells the group, "The first question of me was, why are you letting Linda do this? . . . I was advised, not consulted."

He gets a lukewarm response to that, and concludes by saying that this "country is headed for economic ruin," and Linda can save it. He doesn't wait for questions, and heads for the back of the room amid a polite smattering of applause.

Matt Salmon, John McCain's anointed CD1 candidate, stands in the middle of the room, listening. He doesn't applaud.

Tom spends the duration of the meeting in the hallway, schmoozing, or by the snack table. He shoves a sugar cookie into his mouth. "This is my dinner," he says sheepishly.

He doesn't hear Salmon's speech, though it's directed at him. In sharp contrast, Salmon pounds the podium, brimming with fire.

"Although I'm the only one in my family running for office, we care about our country as much as you do!" he says. He thanks his wife for "giving me" four children, his motivation for running in the first place. He concludes with another jab at the Rawleses: "I want to know that person's character--it is an issue."
The assemblage cheers.
Salmon's words all but confirm rumors that Linda's foes intend to make an issue of her character. In her literature, Linda tells CD1 voters she will fight to keep government "out of your bedroom."

That statement is toned down from her writings in the February 20, 1992, issue of the Chicago Federalist Forum, published by her law school's chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. That edition features a pro/con between two students on the question "Should the State Regulate Consensual Sexual Behavior?" No! states the libertarian Linda Dilts (her maiden name), in a breezy missive that starts off, "Says the 'Conservative' to the 'Libertarian': 'Do you actually wish to legalize all private sexual activity between two consenting adults?' Responds the 'Libertarian': 'Why limit it to two?' And, indeed, why?"

By the middle, she's warmed up to, "As welfare and government 'entitlements' are simply legalized theft, so sodomy, fornication, adultery and prostitution laws are inverse rape."

The piece concludes with a brief bio in which Linda describes herself as "a second-year law student who rambles in print and in thought, harbors only minor inconsistencies, enjoys good and moral sex, and claims that the preceding quirks are protected by her Ninth Amendment rights."

Today, she defends the article as an exercise in argument.
"I believe I stretched mine [opinion] a little bit for the sake of argument, because that's what you do in law school. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't believe the gist of it, because I still do, and probably believed most of it then, too," she says. She does renege when it comes to legalizing prostitution. "AIDS was a factor then [in 1990], but not nearly so much as it is now," she says.

@rule:
@body:Will love conquer all--or even the GOP primary? The Rawleses face an uphill struggle in their lust to put Linda in office.

For all her talk about personal liberties and individual responsibility, Linda has had difficulty translating her beliefs into measurable action.

Nelson Robb DuVal & DeMenna's Jason Rose says part of the problem is that Linda Rawles wants to paint herself as a conservative, but the voters haven't caught on.

"I think people recognize Matt Salmon as a conservative. I don't think people know what Linda Rawles is," he says. "She wants to be a conservative worse than anything in the world, and I cannot give you a good reason why she's not viewed as a conservative."
Ben Sheffner, assistant editor of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based monthly covering congressional and gubernatorial races, has interviewed more than 175 House candidates, including Rawles, Salmon, Bitter Smith and Blanchard. He sees Salmon as the front-runner on the Republican side. "One, he has proven vote-getting ability. Two, he's conservative. . . . And in a Republican primary, especially in Arizona, that's where you've gotta be," Sheffner says.

Sheffner agrees that Linda has trouble portraying herself as conservative, probably because she doesn't have a track record, as Salmon does from his years in the Arizona legislature. But her biggest problem is her carpetbagger image, he says. Of the House candidates he's interviewed, Linda Rawles is the most serious offender in the short-timer category, Sheffner adds. Linda Rawles' campaign "reeks of political opportunism," he says.

Linda admits that she didn't recognize Ann Symington when Arizona's first lady approached her at a reception last fall. But she and Tom believe that works to her advantage. After all, this is the congressional district that another carpetbagger, John McCain, snatched up in 1982.

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