Ariz. mayor exiled by church leaders

Denver Post/March 11, 2004

St. George, Utah -- The newly elected members of the Colorado City, Ariz., City Council will choose a new mayor to replace the man ousted from town by fundamentalist church leaders.

All three candidates vying for three City Council seats in Tuesday's primary election received more than 93 percent of the vote, avoiding a general election, The Spectrum of St. George reported.

The council will choose a replacement for Dan Barlow, the town's only mayor in its 19 years of incorporation.

With about 10,000 residents, Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, are dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The two communities form what is considered the largest polygamist enclave in the nation.

Through a trust, the United Effort Plan, the church controls most of the land and property in the two towns.

Barlow and about 20 other men were excommunicated by church leader Warren Jeffs in January in an apparent attempt to solidify his control. They were told to leave town without their wives, children or belongings.

Edson Jessop, who has been a council member since the town was incorporated in 1985, was re-elected Tuesday. Also elected to the council were Richard Allred, a teacher, and Donald Richter, a member of the town library board.

Voter turnout was 33 percent, town clerk Kevin Barlow said.

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