Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey recently has downplayed his relationship with Cathi Herrod, the Christian Right lobbyist who serves as one of Ducey's top policy advisers on his campaign.
Ducey's been questioned about her role in the campaign in the aftermath of Arizona's SB 1062, a product of Herrod and her organization, the Center for Arizona Policy. Ducey's said several times that Herrod's only part of a broad coalition he's built, and explained to the Arizona Republic that he's the "independent voice for Arizona."
Well, how closely to Ducey and Herrod's views align? Perfectly, according to Ducey's answers on the Center for Arizona Policy's candidate surveys.
All candidates for public office in Arizona are offered the chance to fill out this survey, which Ducey has done twice -- once in 2010, when he ran for state treasurer, and again this year.
In both years, Ducey's answers were completely consistent with the Center for Arizona Policy's agenda.
Both supported further regulations of "sexually-oriented businesses," both opposed adding sexual orientation to nondiscrimination laws, both support a Constitutional ban on gay marriage, both oppose a mandate for schools to teach sex ed, and on, and on, and on.
"That's who he is -- he is a Cathi Herrod Republican," says Geoff Vetter, spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal.
Ducey's spokeswoman didn't return a request for comment on Ducey's alignment on the issues with Herrod.
You can see Ducey's answers to the 2010 and 2014 surveys below, and see if that fits any definition of "an independent voice for Arizona."
The Herrod connection has been a serious issue for Democrats, especially in the wake of SB 1062, which was seen as an anti-gay bill.
Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director D.J. Quinlan publicly called on Ducey to get rid of Herrod, which Ducey refused.
Ducey responded, in part, "If the Arizona Democratic Party is suggesting that I shut myself off and listen to only one side of any issue, my answer, quite simply, is 'No.'"
In addition to the ideological ties, Ducey's also given money to the Center for Arizona Policy through his nonprofit, the Ducey Family Foundation:
Despite his unwillingness to part with Herrod, Ducey has distanced himself from her a bit. Herrod is no longer listed under "supporters" on Ducey's campaign website (other divisive figures like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Senator Ted Cruz have also been removed), and Ducey has said that he would have vetoed the infamous SB 1062.
However, that second part comes with a caveat. Ducey told the Arizona Daily Star months ago:
"The religious liberty issues that SB 1062 attempts to address are legitimate ones, and I believe there is a way to draft language that would address the concerns of everyone involved and avoid the acrimony and notoriety that have accompanied this bill's passage. I would veto SB 1062, but would then bring together all the interested parties before this legislative session adjourns to forge consensus on acceptable language protecting religious liberty."Notice on Ducey's 2014 candidate questionnaire that he said he supports, "Protecting individuals and businesses from being required to provide services or use their artistic expression in a manner that violates their moral or religious beliefs."
To SB 1062 opponents, the bill was a clear attempt at giving business owners a green light to discriminate against gays. At the same time, the Center for Arizona Policy explicitly opposes adding sexual orientation as a protected class in anti-discrimination laws. And, again, Ducey's candidate survey shows where he stands on that issue as well.
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