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Secessionist Wins More Than 225,000 Votes in Texas Primary

Larry Kilgore, a self-described “consultant,” got over 225,000 votes -- more than 18% of the total vote -- in his challenge to U.S. Senator John Cornyn in the Texas state Republican Party primary on March 4, 2008.,. Two Websites for the campaign touted the result as a victory for “Texas Independence.”

Kilgore’s stated platform for the campaign was creating a sovereign state of Texas that would be run according to “biblical law.” According to Kilgore, imposing biblical law would include executing adulterers, freeing all prisoners, and eliminating all forms of social welfare. In his blog, Kilgore vowed that, if elected, he would use the office of Senator to negotiate with the “US empire” for Texan independence and would not vote on any legislation unrelated to the creation of an independent state of Texas. Kilgore also pledged to eliminate public education and punish illegal immigrants with a “minimum of five lashes.”

This is not Kilgore’s first foray into Texas electoral politics. He also ran unsuccessfully for State Representative in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2004 and for governor in 2006, when he won more than 50,000 votes in the Texas Republican primary for that office, enough to place him second to incumbent governor Rick Perry in a field of four. (Perry still beat him by more than 500,000 votes.)

Kilgore claims to have received endorsements for his bid from a variety of figures in the Christian far right.  They included Michael Marcavage of the anti-abortion group Repent America; “Coach” Dave Daubenmire, the leader of Pass the Salt ministries, who is scheduled to speak at a March 2008 Christian Identity conference (Christian Identity is a virulently anti-Semitic and racist religion); and John Weaver, a Georgia-based pastor with ties to the far-right Constitution Party and Christian Identity organizations.

Kilgore has also invoked the doctrine of a “lesser magistrate.” This is a claim sometimes made by Christian Reconstructionists, like the anti-abortion extremist Matt Trewhella, that sheriffs and other local public officials have the right to disregard the directives of higher-ranking political authorities. Christian Reconstructionists believe the American government should be “reconstructed” along biblical lines. The lesser magistrate doctrine originated with John Calvin, the 16th century French Protestant theologian, who believed that while individuals cannot rebel against governmental authority, lesser magistrates do have the legal right to resist tyranny.

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