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Basha admits stance may hurt him


PHOENIX – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Eddie Basha conceded yesterday that comments he made on a radio show this week in support of same-sex marriages could have damaged his campaign momentum.

“The issue to me is discrimination. I felt if someone is being discriminated against by any means, I oppose it,’ Basha said.

He said his family was victimized by the Ku Klux Klan when the group burned a cross in an alley because of his family’s Semitic ancestry. He supported Martin Luther King Day before it was economically important, he added.

Ending an impassioned speech against inequitable treatment amid the applause of supporters yesterday, Basha said, “I’ve always been unalterably opposed to discrimination.’

But afterward, when asked whether Bashas’ grocery chain provides insurance coverage to those with same-sex marriages, Basha said he was not sure.

And he said he wouldn’t push for legislation to remove the prohibition in statutes against homosexual marriages.

“I’m not advocating anything. My understanding of the question was if legislation was passed, would I oppose it . . . . I think we have to evaluate the whole scene,’ Basha said.

Basha said it is his political naiveté that gets him in trouble.

“I’m a very passionate heart and a very zealous person, and sometimes I say things because of a strong personal conviction that have come back to haunt me,’ he said, referring to himself as “honest Eddie.’

He said he has always predicted the outcome of the governor’s race “will be a flip of a coin.’

Basha said he does not regret running against Republican Gov. Fife Symington, and predicted that Pima County will determine the victor.

His campaign workers have been knocking on doors, sending direct mail and using phone lists to plug him, and it probably hasn’t hurt that Terry Goddard sent letters to his supporters,asking them to switch their allegiance to Basha.

Goddard, a former Phoenix mayor who was twice defeated in bids for governor, including his loss to Basha in the September Democratic primary, always ran well in Pima County.

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