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Bid to Lead Alabama’s Public Service Commission Falls Short for Favorite of Religious Right

Support from conservative Christians and endorsement by Judge Roy Moore weren’t enough for political outsider Matt Chancey to win Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for president of Alabama’s Public Service Commission.

According to the Associated Press, with 95 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Twinkle Cavanaugh, a former adviser to Gov. Bob Riley, had 60 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Chancey, a small business owner who ran for office on a platform of expanding nuclear power to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

“Radical environmentalists have stopped nuclear power and are a leading cause of our high energy bills,” Chancey, 32, said in a campaign ad. “As Public Service Commission president I’ll take on the radical environmentalists and the liberal elite and bring our energy costs down now.”

In recent days attention turned to a four-year old article by Chancey’s wife questioning the principle of one man-one vote. Jennie Chancey, co-author of the book Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, argued that only the heads of households should vote, because otherwise the husband and wife might cancel each other out in the voting booth.

“There are good, thoughtful people on both sides of the suffrage issue,” she wrote in an article on her Web site, Ladies Against Feminism. “There are godly Christians who disagree on this matter.”

“The model of household suffrage is based upon biblical precepts for government,” she maintained. “When God commanded that the people of Israel should be numbered, it was done by heads of household.”

Chancey said America’s founders envisioned household rather than individual voting when they established the nation as a constitutional Republic instead of a pure democracy.

“Why should men represent their families at the ballot box?” she asked. “Well, why not? Someone else represents you in Congress; you do not directly vote on every issue. If you have a problem with men voting for their households, you must necessarily take issue with the republican form of government our Founders laid down. How can 535 representatives possibly represent the votes of 280 million people? If we don’t like this fact, we have the right to ‘alter or abolish’ our government, but we don’t have the right to do so at the expense of our neighbor.”

Matt Chancey’s candidacy won support from Conservative Christians of Alabama. “Ten Commandments” Judge Roy Moore wrote an endorsement for his campaign Web site. Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association gave Chancey his “whole-hearted endorsement.”

John Killian, a conservative Southern Baptist leader in the state, described him as “certainly the superior candidate” and “a true, bona-fide, movement conservative.”

“Matt Chancey is a committed Christian, a conservative who understands the proper limits of government, and a hard worker who will make a powerful difference on the Alabama Public Service Commission,” said Killian, pastor of Maytown Baptist Church.

Killian was a moderator of Southern Baptist Conservatives of Alabama, a network of pastors organized in 1997 that disbanded in 2005, declaring its mission accomplished in steering the Alabama Baptist Convention in a more conservative direction.

In 2006 Bobby Welch appointed him chairman of the powerful SBC Committee on Committees. Recently Killian was part of a campaign, along with current SBC president Johnny Hunt and past president Jerry Vines, to have Tennessee Temple University recognized as a Southern Baptist school.

Chancey attends Reformed Family Fellowship Church in Chelsea, Ala. The church is listed as a “family integrated church” by Vision Forum Ministries, founded in 2005 and consisting of 10 families.

In the family integrated model, which is growing in popularity among families who home school their children, families worship and participate together, instead of being split up by age group. Fathers are taught and expected to be leaders in their home, while many trappings of the mega-church model are rejected as fads.

An article on Talk To Action described Chancey as a friend and protégé of Doug Phillips, a homeschool curriculum provider who advocates a view called “biblical patriarchy,” meaning that God ordained for wives to be subordinate to their husbands. In April EthicsDaily.com reported on a speaker who was chastised for challenging that view in a conference on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Chancey gained ground since the June 3 primary that forced a runoff because no candidate got at least 50 percent of the vote, in which he won 29 percent. The winner in Tuesday’s runoff, a former chair of the Alabama Republican Party, now faces former Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley in the general election Nov. 4.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.