Donald H. Goldwater launched his candidacy for the governor’s office by recalling his family’s long ties to Arizona on Tuesday.
His great uncle Morris Goldwater served as vice chairman of the committee that wrote the state Constitution, which allowed Arizona to gain statehood in 1912.
His uncle Barry Goldwater founded the modern state Republican Party and served in the U.S. Senate for six terms.
On the national stage, Barry Goldwater challenged Lyndon B. Johnson for the presidency in 1964, and while doing so forged the conservative movement that cultivated Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Don Goldwater called it a family heritage of service that is unsurpassed in Arizona.
The Udall and Babbitt families may have standing to object, but few others do.
The Goldwater name is inscribed all over the state.
A street in Scottsdale, a park in Paradise Valley, an airport terminal in Phoenix and an Air Force bombing range near Yuma all were named in tribute to Barry Goldwater, who died in 1998.
Barry Goldwater championed the Western ideals of limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.
Don Goldwater initially discussed his family’s legacy at each of his three kick-off speeches in Sun City, Phoenix and Tucson.
Then he tried to step away from the legacy, at least a bit.
"For the record, my name is Don Goldwater. Let me repeat: My name is Don Goldwater," he said.
Still, the legacy defines him. It’s the default position.
The former state director of special events has never held public office, so while his family name is widely known outside of Republican Party circles, he isn’t.
Sen. Thayer Verschoor, RGilbert, addressed the topic before Don Goldwater’s speech at the state Capitol.
"Probably some of you are going to touch on the point: Are you going to be Barry Goldwater?
"Let me just tell you right now Don Goldwater isn’t here to fill Barry Goldwater’s shoes," Verschoor said.
"Don is his own man."
Don Goldwater said that in a general sense he’s on target with his uncle’s message, but his stances on specific issues are difficult to qualify.
He said, "It would be hard to try to guess what Barry would be saying today, because times have changed."
So this is what Don Goldwater is saying: He wants to stop illegal immigration, cut taxes, enact school choice measures, thin forests and protect Colorado River water rights.