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An outspoken evangelical Christian who is one of three finalists for “president” on the Showtime reality program “American Candidate” hopes like-minded viewers will vote for him today, when one of the participants is booted off the show.
Park Gillespie goes up against two competitors on the show tonight. The three finalists were whittled down from an original group of ten people – ordinary Americans who were put through the paces of running for president, including developing platforms, giving speeches and facing focus groups. Viewers can use toll-free phone numbers to call in their votes after the show airs.
Besides Gillespie, a Republican, facing elimination are two Democrats, one of whom, Malia Lazu, works for a “progressive” 527 political group called Young Voter Alliance. According to Lauz’s resume on the “American Candidate” website, YVA is “a coalition of the League of Pi–ed Off Voters, Hip Hop Political Action Convention, Young Democrats and Stonewall Democrats, and Clickback America.”
His other opponent, Lisa Witter, is public-relations consultant who has worked for the anti-Bush 527 group MoveOn.org. Witter reportedly has talked about using the group’s e-mail list to solicit for votes.
According to a flyer encouraging like-minded Americans to cast a vote for Gillespie, the phone polls will open at 9:45 p.m. Eastern time today and remain open for two hours. The polls will be open again from 9:45 to 11:45 p.m. Pacific time.
“One phone gets one vote … use as many phones as you have!” the flyer says.
Gillespie’s platform includes President Reagan’s economic policies for job creation, support for Social Security privatization, and opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion.
The flyer suggests left-wing groups are mobilizing to support his opponents.
States the flyer: “We need all the votes we can get to defeat MoveOn.org, PETA, Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and many other radical left-wing organizations.”
Writes Karla Dial on Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink website: “This 38-year-old father of four, a science and social studies teacher from Stanley, N.C., makes no bones about his love for Jesus Christ – or his pro-life, pro-family moorings.”
Gillespie told Dial: “I think (the producers) were intrigued by a guy who holds these very conservative evangelical positions, yet is passionate about racial reconciliation and risked his life in a minefield in Sudan (as a missionary) and has been to China. That freaked them out. They think it’s inconsistent. But it’s totally consistent with a Christian worldview, and that’s why it doesn’t make sense to them.”
The ultimate winner of the contest receives $200,000 and a chance to deliver a prime-time speech to the nation.