Arizona voters decisively backed Proposition 211, the ballot measure requiring disclosure of significant campaign contributions.
Proposition 211 measure drew strong bipartisan in opinion polls and the support of allies such as the League of Women Voters and the Arizona Alliance of NonProfits. Former Gov. Fife Symington, a Republican, spoke in favor of the measure — creating a common interest between the two former rivals for the Governor’s Office.
Symington argued that candidates and proposition proponents who have to contend with dark money attacks are like “being in a boxing match with an opponent you can’t see.”
Read the full article here at AZ Central.
Gov. Symington pens an editorial strongly supporting Proposition 211:
I had the pleasure of serving as your governor during a simpler time. A simpler time when you actually knew who your political opponent was.
Today, running for office requires great risk and great courage. Risk that you never know who your actual political opponent might be. It’s like being in a boxing match with an opponent you can’t see. It takes substantial courage to fight someone you can’t even see.
It is time to end that.
That’s why I am joining Democrats, Republicans and independents asking you to vote “yes” on Proposition 211, the Voters’ Right to Know Act. If passed, any group spending more than $50,000 on statewide campaigns or $25,000 on local campaigns will have to disclose the names of the original contributors who provided the money for the campaigns.
Read the whole op-ed piece in the Arizona Republic.
Former Republican Gov. Fife Symington confirmed that he’s endorsing the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative.
“I just feel it’s out of control,” he told me, referring to dark money spending on Arizona’s political campaigns.
Symington is the highest-profile Republican yet to support turning the lights on Arizona’s campaign-finance system.
Read Laurie Robert’s full op-ed piece here.
The Arizona Republic ran a long feature story on Governor Symington, with an in-depth look at the development of his culinary school and his adjustment to life after politics.
But he thinks he could win again. Symington believes his record is strong, and shakes off the idea that his past could be a burden. He assumes most voters would remember that he was pardoned, that his legal slate has been wiped clean, but also knows a political opponent would likely use it against him.
It’s a nice thought, but there’s so much he’d have to risk, so much he’d have to give up. He found happiness in irrelevance. He cooks impossible dishes and tears through history books and pesters his friends with political gossip. Symington splits time between Santa Barbara — in what he calls “the Socialist Republic of California,” where his wife, Ann, lives — and Phoenix, where he’ll never leave. His kids are their own successes. Really, he’s fine with all of it.
Read the full article here.
From last month came some sad news: celebrated Arizona historian Jack August Jr. passed away on January 20. August had been working on a biography of former Governor Symington that was apparently nearly two-thirds complete.
From the Arizona Republic article:
He also “pursued” Republican former Gov. Fife Symington for six or seven years in the hope of writing his life story, says Symington, who adds that he initially was not interested in the project.
Then he met Jack.
“I decided I really liked him,” said Symington. The two began working together about three years ago and became good friends.
And from the New Times article:
“He was into every aspect of my life,” Symington explains. “He’s such a unique person. It would be very, very difficult for anyone to kind of pick it up and keep going. I’m really going to miss him.”
But the good professor — whose death now is mourned by Arizona’s political elite, from Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan to Phoenix’s Democratic Mayor Greg Stanton — was at heart a Phoenix boy, who never lost the common touch, and was as much at home with paupers as with princes.