Samuel P. Goddard Papers

Politics in Arizona

Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Committee

Viewed by his political counterparts as a moderate liberal within the party, Sam Goddard was elected chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party in 1960. Goddard's entrance into Arizona politics was not planned, but when encouraged by others, he accepted. His interest in social concerns, such as the improvement of the juvenile delinquent institutions, and fiscal reforms of the state led him to political service. As head of the Democratic Party in Arizona, Goddard learned politics first hand at a state and national level. Goddard served as chair until 1962, when he resigned his position to run for governor of Arizona.

Goddard ran for governor a total of four times. In his second campaign, Goddard won and served as governor of Arizona from 1965 to 1967. He lost a hotly contested campaign for reelection to Jack Williams and made a final attempt for the governor's chair in 1968. After his term as governor, Goddard returned to party office as Democratic National Committeeman in 1976 and was elected to the chairmanship of the Arizona Democratic Committee in 1978 and headed the state's Democratic Party throughout the 1980s.

As the state's Democratic chair, Goddard dealt with several politically contentious events, including the 1987 recall and impeachment of the governor, Evan Mecham. Goddard resigned his position in 1989 in order to help his son, Terry Goddard, then mayor of Phoenix, campaign for governor of Arizona.

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