SC Official: “Jon Fr1ggin’ Mormon Hunstman”
As we reported on Tuesday, S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom recently referred to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (above) as a “fr1ggin’ Mormon” on a voice mail message obtained exclusively by FITS. Eckstrom was reportedly in his state-owned car en route to the home of one of his alleged mistresses at the time the message was recorded earlier this year.
“I hope we can focus on our love tonight, too, and not just John fr1ggin’ Mormon Huntsman,” Eckstrom tells his lover.
(To listen to the audio, click here).
The context of the remark is uncertain, although Eckstrom has sparred in the past with many members of Huntsman’s South Carolina organization.
Huntsman’s South Carolina director Joel Sawyer did not return phone calls seeking comment on Tuesday. Reached for comment Wednesday morning, Sawyer declined to respond to the audio recording. A spokesman for Eckstrom has yet to respond to the recording.
Both Huntsman and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are practicing Mormons – and while the debate surrounding their faith hasn’t been as intense as it was in 2008 when Romney first ran for president, there are still plenty of Palmetto state voters who see Mormonism as a cult.
“Mormons don’t see Jesus Christ for who Jesus Christ really is,” an Upstate Republican executive committeeman said recently. “That’s the big issue. They see him as a prophet, not the only begotten son of God. They’ve got a prophet we don’t hold to, who gave them the Book of Mormon.”
In 2007, Romney gave a speech on his faith in which he stated that “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.” Romney also said that while he would not repudiate his church’s teachings, he would not permit them to influence his decisions. Of course during a recent “Values Voters” forum in Columbia, S.C. Romney said that he makes all of his important decisions “on his knees.”
Several Romney supporters declined the opportunity to comment on Eckstrom’s remark.
Huntsman and Romney’s faith hasn’t prevented them from picking up a pair of early endorsements from key statewide elected officials in South Carolina – with S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson backing Huntsman and S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis backing Romney. In 2008, Romney was endorsed by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (whose own religious beliefs have been questioned) and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint – although neither of those politicians have committed to his campaign this go-round.
(For a recent list of key S.C. endorsements, click here).
Eckstrom, a Presbyterian, hasn’t endorsed anyone in the state’s “First in the South” presidential primary – although given his recent run of bad press it’s unlikely anyone would want his nod.
The Comptroller’s creepy texts and emails during his affair with former SCGOP Superintendent of Education candidate Kelly Payne have become the stuff of S.C. political legend (and not in a good way). In one of those texts, Eckstrom – who was recently taken to the cleaners by his estranged wife – referred to himself as a “fine specimen.” In another text, he offered to be Payne’s sexual “guinea pig.”
In addition to his recent affair with Payne, Eckstrom has reportedly claimed an affair with a statewide elected official in Oklahoma. Rumors are also swirling regarding a possible affair with one of his subordinates in the Comptroller General’s office.
Just over a decade ago, Eckstrom settled a sexual harassment suit filed against him while he was serving as State Treasurer. The woman, Leanne R. Johnson, received $57,000 from South Carolina taxpayers as a result of the settlement.
Despite all of this, Eckstrom was not only reelected Comptroller last November – but was placed in command of the South Carolina State Guard back in June of this year.
Gotta love South Carolina