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US Senate, state-level candidates make final pitch at Baptist Temple

Nathaniel Herz
Candidates running for office during the 2014 political season attended a sermon at the Anchorage Baptist Temple on Sunday, Aug. 17, two days before the primary election. Bill Roth

With time running out to sway voters before Tuesday’s primary election, the Anchorage Baptist Temple hosted its regular Candidate Day on Sunday morning -- an opportunity for Republican hopefuls for state and federal office to make one last pitch.

Actually, as Senior Pastor Jerry Prevo pointed out, there were several Democrats who came out to the East Anchorage temple, including lieutenant governor candidate Hollis French. But the majority of the candidates in attendance were Republicans, participating in a biennial rite of passage for politicians in that party.

Among the candidates present were all three major Republicans running for U.S. Senate -- Mead Treadwell, Dan Sullivan, and Joe Miller -- incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young and Gov. Sean Parnell.

Each was afforded a brief introduction -- with Prevo maintaining a firm grasp on the microphone even as several candidates, including Sullivan, appeared to try to hold it themselves -- before the service shifted to a celebration of Prevo’s 50th wedding anniversary.

In his sermon, Prevo gave a colorful description of how he and his wife Carol had kept their marriage vibrant through five decades.

As a projector displayed lines of Scripture, Prevo described how the Bible is the “manual” for life, and “how to enjoy the sexual passion that God has given you.

“You know what you can do is maybe flirt with your wife a little,” he said. “We’ll go back to the gymnasium for an activity like we are tonight, and on our way down the hallway, I’ll pat my wife on the bottom.

“I think she really enjoys it,” Prevo said, as the congregation laughed. “I do.”

Afterward, the U.S. Senate candidates said they’d enjoyed Prevo’s sermon.

“Fifty years of marriage is amazing, and so I thought it was wonderful they were focused on how you do that,” Sullivan said.

Miller’s response: “It’s a great message, I thought. I’ve never seen that side of Dr. Prevo before.”

And Treadwell, whose wife died of cancer a decade ago, said: “I always remembered my bride as my bride,” as opposed to his wife.

“So I enjoyed that part,” he said.

In keeping with the day's theme, Don Young announced that he was engaged, introducing a woman named Anne as his​ fiancee during his candidate introduction. She was later identified by the Associated Press as Anne Garland Walton, a flight nurse from Fairbanks. Young's wife Lu died in 2009.

During the service, attendees were given cards with a box to check and a pledge to sign saying they would vote in Tuesday’s primary.

Candidates and their staffers stood at tables with campaign literature, and fielded questions from congregation members as they made their way out.