One candidate for governor favored dramatic increases in funding for education, while his opponent didn't. Otherwise, the two men differed little on the issues. The pundits lamented that the race deteriorated into a "beauty contest." A newspaper described it this way:

"In their bid for office, the men crossed and recrossed the state, exhorting, charging and countercharging. They spent thousands of dollars on newspaper ads and finally ended up on the television airwaves.

"But in the final analysis, the personalities of the two candidates appeared to have more influence on the voters than did the issues, which became rather blurred through constant repetition."

Some things never change.
That's not an account of the 1990 Arizona race for governor. The year was 1966, and the two candidates were Terry Goddard's father, incumbent Democrat Sam Goddard, and Republican radio personality Jack Williams.

Sam Goddard, who had served only one two-year term, fought through a brutal primary before losing to Williams. All of Sam Goddard's challengers back in '66 charged that he was inept and naive about the political process and had failed to respond promptly to a scandal at the state liquor board.

But most destructive was the accusation that Sam Goddard had feuded unnecessarily with legislators and was unable to build a consensus. Legislators of both parties denounced him as a divisive force.

Like father, like son?
No one disputes Terry Goddard's intelligence, but his detractors say he falls short when it comes to political deal making.

Whatever Goddard's record as Phoenix mayor was, at least he has a record.
Fife Symington might be a savvy businessman and manager, but he has no public record as a negotiator and deal maker. All we have is his record as a developer, and he angrily refuses to let us see the details because, as he says, "I do development and I do politics. They're two separate things and I try to keep them that way. And that's it." He says this curtly, dismissing the question with a sharp wave.

Can Symington put together political deals? "He can't even fully work with members of his own party on the campaign," a GOP activist says. "How is he going to meet and find common ground with the diverse power structure of a two-party statehouse?"

As the abundance of ballot propositions indicates, there is a slew of pressing issues on the public agenda that neither the legislature nor the governor have addressed, leaving voters to take lawmaking into their own hands. As one political consultant says, "The Arizona Legislature has been on permanent vacation since about 1987. As an institution, they have lost leadership and abdicated responsibilities because members can't get together on anything." Ev Mecham was so isolated from reality that he was impeached. Rose Mofford was a caretaker, exerting no pressure from the top.

Is there a coalition builder in the house? Or, in the words of one consultant, is there someone out there willing to "kick ass as well as kiss it?" THE ANSWER MIGHT HAVE to wait until a new governor selects his top staff. Typically, neither party will reveal its choices, but some familiar faces are likely to surface.

In an effort to reach legislative Republicans, Goddard may appoint veteran deal maker Burton Barr chief of staff or legislative liaison. Barr, the longtime House majority leader, proved to be no campaigner in 1986, when Mecham whipped him in the GOP primary, but he's still considered a deal maker. He could try to build bridges between the Democrats and moderate Republicans, which is basically what he did as the legislative leader when Bruce Babbitt was the Democratic governor.

Goddard's attorney friend Neil Irwin, confidant Mike Sophy (who drives Goddard's car on the campaign trail) and legislator-turned-consultant Alfredo Gutierrez (said to be Goddard's number one overall strategist) definitely would be in the Democratic governor's informal kitchen cabinet. Irwin likely would get an official top job.

Goddard also would be expected to retain Cathy Eden, the director of administration, and keep Jim Apperson (Mofford's chief of staff) as an adviser. House and Senate Democrats say they would expect Goddard to search out of state for agency directors.

Symington, who unlike Goddard has almost no ties to his party, is reported to be considering a GOP regular--retiring state representative Chris Herstam--for chief of staff or another top post. Other possibilities for a Symington administration include campaign staffer George Leckie, the dedicated finance director who helped organize the aborted Bush fund raiser, and Mark Dioguardi, a former congressional hopeful and Symington adviser. In line for a high-ranking post is campaign manager Bunny Badertscher, on leave from her job as a top aide to Congressman Jim Kolbe. She's described by those close to the Symington camp as "the one who really gets things done."

Badertscher is often mentioned as a possible chief-of-staff candidate. She has fewer statehouse connections than Herstam, but Symington believes she turned his floundering campaign around after the turmoil surrounding the firing of former campaign chief Mike Morales last spring.

John Hays, a veteran GOP state senator from Yavapai County who was ousted in the primary, is reported to be under consideration for the job of liaison to the legislature. One Republican lawmaker says Hays "could play the role of [Mecham aide] Donna Carlson for Fife. John knows the people, the process, and where a few of the bodies are buried."

SET ASIDE THE CANDIDATES' prospective staffs and what do you have? Both Symington and Goddard come from well-connected families, both got their college degrees at Harvard and both stir the public passions with all the spice and spark of day-old white bread.

It's a campaign without flagship issues, vibrant political characters or gut-wrenching one-on-one conflict. So, how to choose?

Well, which one do you like more?
In the current Arizona political climate, personal demeanor is not a frivolous issue. The last two governors have been at the extremes, and neither got anything done.

The two pretenders are somewhere in that huge gray area between Mecham's bully mentality and Mofford's milk-and-cookies approach. Maybe there's a clue to the political personalities of Goddard and Symington in the way each has dealt with his party's ex-governor.

Although Goddard has spent millions and campaigned extensively in rural Arizona, his popularity outside Phoenix remains low. Many rural Arizonans remember Goddard as the Phoenix mayor who always lusted after their water.

As a public relations boost, Goddard courted Rose Mofford--a much-loved rural icon, but long estranged from Goddard--to campaign for him. All it took, a Democratic staffer confirmed, is a little bit of old-fashioned back scratching.

Goddard reportedly offered Mofford the position of state protocol officer, the ribbon-cutting position she filled informally for years as secretary of state and one that she is rumored to have long coveted. Soon after Goddard popped the question, Mofford was busily recording folksy radio spots to run in the Arizona wilderness, urging all to "vote for Terry."

"Rose is just like everybody else," says a Democratic party staffer. "She wants to be appreciated, listened to and respected. That's a lesson Goddard is only now learning."

Symington also has had to mend fences with his party's former governor. Months ago, Symington alienated the GOP's right wing by threatening in his campaign kickoff speech to give a "punch in the nose" to Evan Mecham. Symington, a political neophyte making his first run for public office, also went on to carelessly offend the GOP's worker bees, the precinct committee people, by publicly discounting their importance.

Symington, all agreed, would have trouble holding on to party activists and the far right, which are often one and the same in the post-Mecham GOP.

An obligatory postelection "peace lunch" with the impeached governor did little to clean up the fallout from their bitter primary campaign.

It was at the lunch, a source close to Mecham says, that the ex-governor offered to campaign for Symington if he would promise to allow Mecham some "input" into filling several high-level administration jobs, including the appointment of former Mecham aide Ray Russell to head the state health department. Symington demurred, perhaps wary of such a hasty courtship with Mecham or hesitant to promise the human-health job to Russell, who earned his medical degree as a veterinarian.

Surprisingly, Symington may have more in common with Mecham than either would admit. Since Day One of the campaign, Symington's demeanor during joint appearances with Goddard has been alternately petulant and sullen. During the two candidates' second debate, Symington looked like a father preparing to tell his child that the family dog had died. And when he tried to heatedly engage moderator Cameron Harper over the debate's rules, in an effort, a staffer says, to appear "tough and take charge," Symington instead appeared to whine.

In his dealings with the media, Symington's face flushes with anger whenever the questioning strays into an area he thinks is "inappropriate." Though Symington once openly disdained Mecham as uncultured and impolite, he himself is viewed by one GOP staffer as "Mecham with his shoes shined."

"He really displays the Mecham- nonperson mentality if you get on his bad side," the staffer says, "This isn't a man who is used to having to answer tough questions. He's usually the one doing the asking."

SYMINGTON'S REPUTATION fir the Mecham-style attack is growing. Just ask Goddard. The two Ivy Leaguers aren't likely to start acting like old school chums after the campaign dust settles.

While Symington hasn't copied a page from the Bush-Dukakis campaign by asking Goddard what he would do if someone raped and murdered his wife--since the ex-mayor hasn't got one--he has gone out of his way to question Goddard's manhood.

During their first postprimary debate, Symington peppered his comments with references to family, home and hearth nine times during the first few minutes. He also responded to a question on abortion by noting that he "wouldn't expect [Goddard] to necessarily understand my feelings as a father about that issue." Such tactics can backfire. For this comment, Symington got a round of boos.

Remarks like that one have left a lingering ill will between the candidates. There seems to be a genuine animosity between Symington and Goddard that moves beyond the usual campaign rhetoric. When asked if he had real resentment toward his opponent, Goddard chuckles and says, "Is it that obvious?"

No one disputes Terry Goddard's intelligence, but his detractors say he falls short when it comes to political deal making.

"He can't even fully work with members of his own party on the campaign," a GOP activist says of Symington.

The two pretenders are somewhere in that huge gray area between Mecham's bully mentality and Mofford's milk-and- cookies approach.

Symington is viewed by one GOP staffer as "Mecham with his shoes shined.

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Darrin Hostetler