1990 politics back -- Symington vs. Goddard? - East Valley Tribune: News

1990 politics back -- Symington vs. Goddard?

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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 1:00 pm | Updated: 1:10 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our View: Do you yearn for the Arizona of 20 years ago? A time when the state had nearly half of today's population, much less wealth and a far different view of itself.

Do you yearn for the Arizona of 20 years ago? A time when the state had nearly half of today's population, much less wealth and a far different view of itself.

Two of Arizona's better-known political names apparently are hoping you do, at least when it comes to election contest for governor next year. It's widely known that Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has emerged early as a leading Democrat likely to seek that office. On Friday, former Gov. Fife Symington told a variety of media outlets including Capitol Media Services that he's thinking about running for the Republican nomination, even if that would mean challenging the present governor, Jan Brewer.

It just so happens Goddard and Symington faced off before in a governor's race that shaped statewide politics throughout the 1990s. The two were their respective year's nominees in 1990, a year that featured Arizona's first and only attempt to use a runoff vote to decide a statewide election. Goddard relied on his tenure as a popular mayor of Phoenix and his status as son of another former governor. Symington, a real estate developer, was riding a tide of anti-insider sentiment and a growing Republican majority.

Symington won the runoff and brought in a series of spending reforms and tax cuts that were so influential that he's well-liked among many Republicans today, despite the felony conviction that forced him from office in a national scandal before the conviction was overturned on appeal and then wiped out forever by a presidential pardon.

After his defeat, Goddard worked for the federal government for a few years before his 2002 winning bid for attorney general, raising the possibility of following fellow Democrat Janet Napolitano into the governor's office.

It's hard to gauge if Symington is serious, since he toyed with making a run for governor in 2006 for a few weeks before walking away. Regardless of what Brewer does, the Republican field could be crowded with some younger and newer faces willing to test the old guard.

But if Goddard and Symington renew their rivalry once more, such a contest could tell us how much Arizona politics has, or hasn't, changed in the past two decades.

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