"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."