Barry Goldwater – Mr. Conservative – Wins the 1964 Republican Presidential Nod

The front page of the July 16th, 1964 Arizona Republic featured a headline exclaiming, "Barry Wins," referring to Goldwater having captured the 1964 Republican presidential nomination the day prior.

The front page of the July 16th, 1964 Arizona Republic featured a headline exclaiming, “Barry Wins,” referring to Goldwater having captured the 1964 Republican presidential nomination the day prior.

Barry Goldwater accepted the Republican presidential nomination fifty years ago this evening. Goldwater, a Phoenix businessman who had served on the Phoenix City Council and, at the time of his nomination, was completing his second term in the United States Senate, secured his party’s nod after having prevailed over Nelson Rockefeller and William Scranton, two well-funded moderate Republicans from populous East Coast states. However, Goldwater’s convention victory would prove to be the pinnacle of his 1964 electoral success.

The 1964 election occurred less than one year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and American voters were disinclined to support yet another leadership transition. Goldwater’s strong conservatism and recent vote against the Civil Rights Act did little to endear him to voters in many parts of the nation. President Johnson’s campaign capitalized on widespread perceptions of Goldwater being a war hawk, an effort best represented by the infamous “Daisy Ad,” a controversial television advertisement that ran just one time but nonetheless managed to strongly reinforce the narrative of Goldwater being willing to recklessly over-escalate military conflicts such as the U.S. effort in Vietnam. These factors, paired with other issues such as the tepid support Goldwater received from moderate “Rockefeller Republicans,” resulted in a resounding general election defeat in which the Arizonan won only his home state and a handful of others. However, Goldwater’s campaign, supported by articulate political conservatives such as Ronald Reagan, helped to redefine conservatism and drastically alter the American political landscape. Goldwater, known by many as “Mr. Conservative,” went on to represent Arizona in the Senate for three more terms before retiring to his Paradise Valley home in 1987. An iconoclast to the end, Goldwater continued to speak his mind and gleefully rankle feathers — including those of his fellow GOPers — for the remainder of his life, which ended in May of 1998.

To view of one Senator Goldwater’s ads featuring the candidate, please visit

To view President Johnson’s “Daisy Ad,” please visit

To view a Goldwater ad featuring Ronald Reagan responding to claims of Goldwater’s hawkish nature, please visit

Please note that the webpages on which the above links can be found are not operated by or endorsed by John Larsen Southard. Links are provided for educational purposes only.

Senator Goldwater’s Birthday

Today is the 115th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s birth – or is it?

Senator Goldwater’s Birthday – His Real Birthday – Is Up for Debate

2008 is not the first year that a birth certificate has factored into a presidential election. Both of Arizona’s presidential nominees faced questions surrounding their birthplaces. 1964 GOP nominee Barry Goldwater contended with a handful of people challenging his candidacy due to his birth in pre-statehood Arizona, although few seriously believed birth in a U.S. territory would preclude someone from serving in the Oval Office. 2008 Republican nominee John McCain’s 1936 Panama Canal Zone birth also brought some degree of Constitutional skepticism, although legal scholars quickly dismissed such concerns. However, a more interesting question regarding Senator Goldwater’s birth remains unanswered, and is unlikely to ever be answered definitively.

Goldwater long claimed January 1st, 1909 as his date of birth. New Year’s Day 1909 is the date listed on his Arizona birth certificate, in his official United States Senate online biography, in his 1988 autobiography entitled Goldwater (page 37), and cast in bronze on his Paradise Valley grave marker. Despite the many official references to a January 1st birth, Senator Goldwater was likely born on January 2nd, 1909 – one day later than his oft-cited New Year’s Day arrival.

Having been born at the long-since demolished Goldwater home at 710 North Center Street (now Central Avenue) in Phoenix, Mr. Conservative’s birth was not memorialized in hospital records. In addition to the lack of hospital documentation, the Senator was not issued a birth certificate in 1909. Instead, he requested that the state issue formal documentation of his birth in 1942, or thirty-three years after the event, thereby greatly reducing the document’s value as a record of Goldwater’s birthdate. Significant Goldwater family events further complicate the mystery of the Senator’s true birthdate.

Baron and Josephine Goldwater, Barry’s parents, were married on January 1st, 1907, or two years prior to the birthdate claimed by Senator Goldwater. Joanne Goldwater, Barry’s first child, was born on January 1st, 1936 – twenty-seven years after Barry Goldwater’s supposed New Year’s Day arrival. Therefore, when Goldwater requested a birth certificate in 1942, a combination of family lore and New Year’s Day family milestones may have prompted the future statesman to give January 1st as his birthdate. By the time the state issued Goldwater a birth certificate, January 1st had already been listed as his date of birth on his Equitable Life Assurance Society policy, application for military pilot training, and his daughter’s birth record, all of which were submitted with his birth certificate application as proof of a January 1st, 1909 birthdate. Period newspaper coverage of the Goldwater family scion’s birth, however, indicates that Arizona’s favorite son was likely not born on the 1st of January, 1909.

The January 2nd, 1909 evening edition of the Arizona Gazette (later the Phoenix Gazette) reported, “the clerks of M. Goldwater & Bro. in Phoenix… have a new ‘boss’,” as of “3 o’clock this morning,” serving as evidence of a January 2nd birthdate. The January 3rd, 1909 Arizona Republican (later the Arizona Republic) included an article titled “The Eldest Son,” which stated, “Mr. and Mrs. Barry Goldwater yesterday welcomed to their fireside their eldest son and heir, a nine-pound boy, who promises to add luster to a family name already distinguished in the annals of Arizona,” thus bolstering the case for a January 2nd birthdate.

So, while we may never know for sure exactly when Senator Goldwater made his debut, the strongest evidence points to January 2nd, 1909 as his true birthdate, although most official sources still reflect a New Year’s Day birth. Either way, happy birthday, Senator!