A new Republican candidate for governor launched his campaign Tuesday by promising to lead a better fight against illegal immigration than the Democrat who currently holds the office.
Donald H. Goldwater shares a name and family ties with one of Arizona’s most legendary politicians as a nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater. But the 50-year-old southwest Valley resident is familiar only to Republican loyalists and state bureaucrats.
So Goldwater is hoping to tap public frustration over illegal immigration to start building his own identity with voters.
Invoking images of foreign terrorists striking at American soil, Goldwater said during campaign speeches Tuesday in Sun City West and at the state Capitol that Arizona should stop turning a "blind eye" to the problems of illegal immigration.
Sept. 11, 2001, "was a direct result of our unofficial open border policy," Goldwater said. "Illegal aliens are crossing our southern border in ever increasing record numbers and the consequences to the citizens of Arizona are real and dangerous."
Goldwater’s grab for the hot-button issue of immigration fits the picture for Republican rank-and-file activists who want a viable conservative on the 2006 primary ballot.
"Don has all of the traditional family values that I and my family hold dear," said state Rep. Judy Burges, RSkull Valley, one of several state lawmakers who appeared Tuesday with Goldwater.
The only other serious contender to start campaigning is former state Senate President John Greene of Phoenix. The moderate Greene troubles social conservatives who want the Republican Party to exclude anyone who favors compromise on abortion or same-sex domestic partnerships.
But Greene argues a Republican candidate with such rigid stances can’t defeat a politically savvy Gov. Janet Napolitano. Greene also questioned whether Goldwater can show voters he is prepared to be the state’s chief executive.
"Welcome to the race. Now, let’s see his credentials," Greene said last week when it became clear Goldwater would run.
Goldwater left a midlevel management job with the state Department of Administration last week to become a candidate. He also owns a small residential and commercial real estate development company.
He has been active behind the scenes within the Republican Party, traveling as a delegate to the 2004 national convention and currently serving as party chairman in legislative District 16.