The lone pro-choice candidate among leading Republican gubernatorial candidates has pulled out of the race.
John Greene, a former state Senate president, said Monday that he has been unable to get the backing of moderates in his party to gather the necessary $5 donations to qualify for public funding.
Greene said some appear to believe that incumbent Democrat Janet Napolitano cannot be beaten; others actually support the governor’s bid for a second term.
Greene’s withdrawal is the second of the race. State Rep. Ted Carpenter pulled the plug on his own short-lived campaign earlier this month.
But Greene’s decision leaves the party without a prominent voice, not only for abortion rights but also for equal rights for gays.
That factor disappointed Greene.
“The Republican Party, at least in Arizona, is at an all-time low in terms of reaching out to people and trying to unify the party and recognizing there are Republicans who believe that individual freedom means allowing people to live their lives without government involvement,” he said.
Greene said that, at least at this point, he is not supporting any of the other announced candidates. But Greene said he does not intend to abandon the GOP.
He said that party politics in Arizona is a “pendulum,” taking swings back and forth between its more moderate and conservative elements.
As proof he said that 20 years ago the party fell under the control of “certain groups” who managed to get Evan Mecham nominated for governor and, eventually, elected. That polarized some moderate Republicans to go public to wrest control of the party back.
One of those moderates was businessman Fife Symington, who became the Republican nominee in 1990. He succeeded Rose Mofford, who was secretary of state but became governor after Mecham was impeached and removed from office, Greene said the current drift toward the right left him “a person without a country” in terms of the GOP.
“Republican moderates seem assured that she’s going to win and don’t want to ruffle her feathers,” he said.
“I’ve had Republican business lobbyists say they couldn’t help me because they’re supporting her,” Greene continued. “How can you deal with that?”
And Greene said he has no support among “the far right” of his party.
Greene said unless moderates take back control of the party, he would expect that party members who share his belief would choose to abandon the party and register as independents.