Raúl Castro First of Nine Consecutive Arizona Governors to Enter or Leave Office Abnormally

Raúl Castro, Raul Castro, Arizona governor, Wesley Bolin, Bruce Babbitt, Evan Mecham, Rose Mofford, Fife Symington, Jane Dee Hull, Janet Napolitano, Jan Brewer, Jimmy Carter, John Larsen Southard, John Southard, Southard, Arizona history, Arizona historian, AZHistorian

Photo: Raúl Castro and President Jimmy Carter
Image credit: Raúl Castro Papers, University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections
Image link: (http://speccoll.library.arizona.edu/governor-castro-jimmy-carter)

Today, October 1st, 2014, President Jimmy Carter assumed the title of nonagenarian. In addition to being elected to the White House in 1976, Carter is known for being a peanut farmer, a Naval Academy graduate, a former Georgia governor, and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. President Carter is not as well known for his 1977 selection of Arizona Governor Raúl Castro — himself now a nonagenarian — for the post of U.S. ambassador to Argentina. This appointment marked the beginning of a nearly four decade-long — and counting — run of Arizona governors who would either enter or leave office under circumstances other than beginning or ending a statutorily-defined gubernatorial term. Perhaps the next occupant of the 9th floor will break the streak… although, our almost forty year span of experiences to the contrary indicates otherwise.

Here’s a list of the Arizona governors, beginning with Raúl Castro, who have either entered or left the state’s highest job due to circumstances other than the beginning or end of a statutorily-defined gubernatorial term:

Raúl Castro
In office: 1975 – 1977
Entered office under normal circumstances.
Left office after being appointed to an ambassadorship.

Wesley Bolin
In office: 1977 – 1978
Assumed office following Raúl Castro’s ambassadorial appointment.
Died in office.

Bruce Babbitt
In office: 1978 – 1987
Assumed office following Wesley Bolin’s death.
Served out the remainder of Bolin’s term and subsequently won two full terms.

Evan Mecham
In office: 1987 – 1988
Assumed office under normal circumstances.
Removed from office after being convicted of multiple charges in a court of impeachment (the Arizona State Senate).

Rose Mofford
In office: 1988 – 1991
Assumed office following Evan Mecham’s impeachment and conviction.
Left office under somewhat normal circumstances (see below: Symington, Fife).

Fife Symington
In office: 1991 – 1997
Assumed office in March of 1991 after beating Terry Goddard in a February runoff election.
Resigned from office after being indicted on multiple federal charges.

Jane Dee Hull
In office: 1997 – 2003
Assumed office following Fife Symington’s resignation.
Left office under normal circumstances.

Janet Napolitano
In office: 2003 – 2009
Assumed office under normal circumstances.
Left office after being appointed to President Obama’s cabinet.

Jan Brewer
In office: 2009 – Present
Assumed office following Janet Napolitano’s cabinet appointment.

For those of you counting, that’s nine governors who have either entered or left office — both in three cases — under circumstances other than the beginning or end of a statutorily-defined gubernatorial term.

Who says politics is boring?