How did she become a governor?

Yesterday I asked in my calm, tolerant way: “If there are any Arizonans reading this, could you explain how this goggle-eyed leftist freak was twice elected governor of your reputedly conservative state?”

Jack S. replies:

Hillary had noticed her when she was representing Anita Hill at the Thomas confirmation hearings. President Clinton later appointed her U.S. Attorney for Arizona. Then she was state attorney general for one term. She was elected governor in 2002. In 2002 she ran against Matt Salmon, a young Mormon former Congressman. Elected to the U.S. House in ‘94, Salmon had honored the three term pledge many freshman Republicans made that year. Arizona Democrats that year put three Indian gaming referenda on the ballot to boost the Indian turnout (heavily Democratic-voting). A straw man candidate ran as an “Independent Conservative” and spent his time cutting down Salmon for his ties to a polygamous Mormon sect in northern Arizona and taking a job as a consultant/lobbyist for the local baby Bell. This candidate got 40,000 votes. There was a Libertarian candidate who got another 20,000 votes. In the end Salmon lost by 1,000 votes. The liberal media in AZ portrayed her a sensible technocrat interested less in politics than in getting things done. They downplayed the fact that she had banned Christmas celebrations during her time as attorney general. In the first years she was careful not to rock the boat while she quietly increased the size of state government and made Arizona’s social welfare benefits so generous that the state became a magnet for indigents from all over Mexico, California, and Chicago. To prove her moderate bona fides she even signed off on an execution soon after becoming governor.

In 2006 she ran against an unknown state representative and won over two thirds of the vote. Arizona has a resign-to-run law and no prominent Republican was willing to give up his job to challenge her. Even Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio endorsed her late in the 2006 race, a case of realpolitik rather than love. After winning in 2006 she quickly dropped the moderate mask and began campaigning for Obama, stabbing the Clintons in the back despite their earlier patronage. Arizona governors are limited to two terms, so she starting taking steps to line up another job soon after winning her second term.

Jack S. continues:
A few extra points to consider.

I neglected to mention that during her time as U.S. attorney she prosecuted Arizona governor Fife Symington. Symington faced charges that he had made false financial statements on loan applications while a developer prior to being elected governor. Symington was convicted. This conviction was later partially overturned on appeal, and Symington was pardoned by President Clinton on his last day in office. Clinton and Symington knew each other from their student days. It is claimed that Symington saved Clinton’s life from drowning.

Bitter comments were later made by Symington supporters about the impropriety of prosecuting a sitting governor in order to position yourself to run later for his job.

Symington resigned the governorship the day he was convicted and the Republican Secretary of State, Jane Hull, became governor as required by Arizona law. Jane Hull and all Arizona Republicans came under severe criticism in the “alt fuels” scandal of 2001. Late in 2001 a vaguely worded state law they passed promoting alternative fuel usage was found to have been abused by new car dealers resulting in huge unanticipated costs to Arizona. The law which partly paid for new vehicles that ran on CNG incurred costs to the State that ballooned to over a billion dollars from original estimates of $1-2 million. Thus all Arizona Republicans were in bad odor with the general public when Naplitno ran in 2002

LA replies:

Thanks very much for all this background. It really fills things in.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 16, 2010 10:15 AM | Send

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