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Minister Enters Race for Lancaster Council

A Baptist minister who has fought sex-book stores and gay rights announced his candidacy Friday for the Lancaster City Council on a “pro-family” platform.

George Runner, founder and executive director of Desert Christian Schools in Lancaster, said he would oppose city funding for groups that give abortion counseling, might hesitate to hire a homosexual city manager, and favors requiring stores to warn that condoms are not always effective.

Runner, 39, who grew up in Lancaster and is a licensed minister of the American Baptist Churches, said his “family values” would be “the gut which I operate from” as a council member. He also said he had been endorsed by Lancaster Mayor Henry Hearns, another minister who was elected to the council in 1990. Hearns could not be reached for comment.

As founder of a local churches’ group, Runner this year led a campaign in Lancaster and Palmdale that got the city councils to oppose state gay rights legislation, and supported Palmdale’s failed effort to close the city’s only sex-book store.

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Runner, who accused incumbents of “infighting and small-town politicking,” is one of several people expected to challenge Councilmen Bill Pursley and George Theophanis in the April election.


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