How to steal the show at a mayoral debate: Propose to your girlfriend in your closing remarks.
That's what Chris Young, who's running for mayor in Providence, R.I., did Tuesday night, asking his former campaign manager, Kara Russo, for her hand in marriage.
In a debate with three other candidates, Young began his closing statement in the usual fashion -- by blasting one of his primary opponents, state Rep. Steven Costantino, whom he accused of adding to the state's budget deficit.
But then he turned his attention to Russo, who happens to be running for lieutenant governor.
"Now is a time to rebuild anew," Young, 41, said. "Now is the time to reach our potential, now is the time for me as well to start anew and thank those who have helped me throughout my life and love those who have helped me throughout my love. So I want to say to Kara, will you please marry me?"
Russo, 39, said yes.
A clearly supportive audience applauded, after which the next candidate, Jonathan Scott, said, "Always a hard act to follow, Chris, but I get to lead by being the first to say congratulations."
The attention-grabber was hardly unusual for Young, a pony-tailed Democrat who has run for mayor three times and won 26 percent of the vote in the 2006 primary against Mayor David Cicilline.
Young vehemently opposes abortion, which he says is against his Catholic faith, and he has campaigned on the idea that many of the nation's ills -- and not just social issues -- derive from pro-choice policies.
"Abortion is tied to all the economic problems that are occurring in this country," Young reportedly told Brown University students last November at a health care forum featuring Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
But that wasn't all he had to say at the forum. Young was arrested for disorderly conduct after he allegedly tried to play a video on the ceiling that he says shows how the socialist agenda is trying to depopulate the country to destabilize the economy. He also gave Kennedy a copy.
The charges were dismissed in March. Young told FoxNews.com that Kennedy, whom he'd met before, didn't object to being tossed the video.
"Patrick Kennedy nodded his head and allowed me to give him the video," he said.
He said he plans to make an announcement soon that his attorneys at the pro-life Thomas More Society will file a lawsuit on his behalf against the school for infringing on his free speech rights at the forum.
"Under the law, (the forum) met certain criteria that allowed anyone to ask questions and I had a legal right" to speak, he said.
Young, who supported Republican Rep. Ron Paul for president in 2008, said he believes abortion is a form of eugenics that encourages the racial cleansing of blacks by targeting low-income black women.
"It's linked to our racism," he said.
In July, Young was ejected from a debate with the other primary candidates for carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary. He claimed the host of the debate didn't want the Latino audience to know that his opponent, who was Latino, supported abortion rights. He said he willingly left after he became concerned that the police who were pulling him out of the event were going to break the statue, which he was repairing for a church that had been flooded.
Young, an electrical engineer who's run for office a half dozen times, says he wrote one of the lead briefs in favor of heterosexual marriage in Rhode Island, which does not allow gay marriages but recognizes ones that are performed in other states.
The campaign in the state to legalize gay marriage will likely be affected by the outcome of the gubernatorial election in November. Both Democrat Frank Caprio, who leads slightly in the polls, and independent candidate Lincoln Chafee support same-sex marriage, unlike Republican John Robitaille, who is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination ahead of the Sept. 13 statewide primary.
The current governor, Republican Donald Carcieri, also opposes gay marriage. He cannot run for re-election because of the state's term limit.
On Monday on "The Rhode Show" on WPRI-TV/WNAC-TV FOX Providence, Young again drew headlines when he was featured in a segment about getting to the know the candidates.
Host Elizabeth Hopkins asked what Young does for fun and what is his favorite place to go. The candidate said church is his favorite place and writing songs is his fun. He then preceded to serenade the host with a song asking, "Are you lost?"
The off-tune rendition ended with the verse, "Be not afraid. It is the son of God who stands with you." He offered to bring his band back later in the week for a full concert, to which a polite but seemingly stunned Hopkins replied it was above her pay grade to make bookings.