Goddard catching up with Brewer in final weeks of governor race - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Goddard catching up with Brewer in final weeks of governor race

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Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 7:00 pm | Updated: 9:14 am, Tue Oct 26, 2010.

Gov. Jan Brewer's large lead over Democrat Terry Goddard is eroding in the final weeks of a campaign that once looked like a runaway victory for the Republican incumbent.

The shift comes after a race that's been anything but predictable.

The election's focus careened from the economy to immigration to Brewer's debate performance - and in recent weeks to rumors about Brewer's health and insinuations over Goddard's sexuality.

While Brewer led Goddard by 20 points in July, she's supported by 38 percent of likely voters compared with Goddard's 35 percent, according to a Behavior Research poll conducted the first 10 days of October. The gap between the candidates narrowed as support for Goddard rose during the survey.

Libertarian Barry Hess and the Green Party's Larry Gist had 6 percent between the two of them.

Brewer's touting her support of Senate Bill 1070, which makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to be in Arizona.

Brewer said she's luring new businesses and jobs by turning the Arizona Department of Commerce into the Arizona Commerce Authority, which has top business leaders serving as advisers. She mocks Goddard's plan to boost the economy.

Goddard criticized Brewer's response to the economic downturn, saying she waited until recent months to put her economic plan into place despite becoming governor in January 2008. His plan involves attracting small businesses that would grow into large employers, and delaying taxes for three years on companies that come to Arizona.

Goddard, who ran for governor in 1990 and is ending his term as attorney general, said Arizona's image has taken a beating because of SB 1070. He blasted Brewer for claiming beheaded bodies had been found in the desert, which she later recanted.

The four candidates appeared in just one televised debate, where Brewer made headlines after blanking out. She's refused any more debates, triggering Hess and Goddard to criticize her for hiding from voters. Brewer says she's eager to meet people, including newspaper editorial boards and at countless speaking engagements.

Brewer said voters know who she is and she's not willing to give Goddard more opportunities to define himself.

Hess, an investor, would eliminate many taxes and regulations while imposing a flat transaction tax. That would boost the economy by luring businesses to Arizona, he said.

Gist, a commercial real estate agent, advocates decentralizing state government, installing solar panels on state land and legalizing marijuana so it can be taxed.

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