Stolen Valor Claim Roils Arizona Legislative Race

steve slaton
Slaton stands beside truck sporting a Vietnam veteran bumper sticker with the Cobra Co-Pilot claim he falsely continues to make.

A freelance investigative reporter who lives in Fountain Hills, Arizona, has gone public with his research and claims about Republican State House candidate Steve Slaton, including findings that Slaton’s Residential Appraiser’s license was revoked by the State of Arizona.  But the most important claim from Todd Anderson is that Slaton appears to be guilty of Stolen Valor – a federal crime that makes it illegal for a person to claim military honors in pursuit of personal benefit.

In the case of Slaton, he has made his military service as a co-pilot of an attack helicopter, particularly in combat during the Vietnam War, a centerpiece of his campaign for State House, and it features in his fundraising appeals as well.

Department of Defense documents posted by Anderson indicate that Slaton had training as a mechanic, not a pilot, and that he entered active duty in June of 1973, which was months after Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accords and ended America’s involvement in combat operations in Vietnam.  Slaton’s record also details his assignment to the 128th Aviation Company – a unit that was not operationally active in Vietnam in 1973.

For his part, Slaton, who campaigns as a running mate to State Senator Wendy Rogers, continues to rely heavily on his image as a combat veteran, including sporting a Vietnam veteran bumper sticker on his truck emblazoned with the Cobra Co-Pilot claim he continues to make.
slaton truck

Slaton is no stranger to controversy and has a lengthy history of making racist attacks on African Americans and religious attacks on Mormons, who he calls “fake Christians”.

Several years ago, Slaton was removed from his post as Republican County Chairman for his attacks on conservative Republicans and he and his wife Karen worked hard to start the “Patriot Party” alongside Daniel McCarthy and others.  Why someone who holds Republicans in such low esteem is running for the Republican Party nomination may come down to simple math.

“District 7 is overwhelmingly Republican, and whoever wins the primary is a lock to win the general, so you get every kind of crackpot running in the Republican Primary because it’s the only race in town.” said one Precinct Committeeman.

That may be right.  One of the other candidates running for the Republican nomination is the head of the Arizona Patriot Party, John Fillmore, who has his own history of racist and inflammatory remarks.  Fillmore failed to qualify the Patriot Party for the ballot and is seeking a return to the State House seat voters voted him out of just two years ago.

How these candidates fare will be interesting to watch.  One of the current State Representatives is David Marshall, a black conservative who is running as a team with Walt Blackman, himself a black conservative who served in the State House prior to Marshall.   And Blackman is a Mormon, pitting two black conservative Republicans against two Patriot Party members with a history of racist and religious bigotry.  Who wins these two seats will say a lot about the Republican Party in 2024 and beyond.

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