Wild Cards: A three-way race in Arizona

A three-way race in Arizona

A Pontiac dealer and a right-winger even by the standards of conservative Arizona, Evan Mecham had previously appeared four times on the ballot for Governor, so often that he became known as the "Harold Stassen of Arizona." Thus he was not taken all that seriously by the Republican establishment. This time around, everyone assumed that Burton Barr, the G.O.P. leader of the house who had the personal backing of Ronald Reagan, would easily capture the nomination and probably go on to win the governorship that Democrat Bruce Babbitt is vacating.

They assumed wrong. Mecham won, and his upset victory has thrown...

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