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?

Arizona Women of Note

Arizona women, Arizona females, famous Arizona women, Arizona history, Arizona historian, AZHistorian, John Larsen Southard, John Southard, Martha Summerhayes, Sandra Day O'Connor, Sandra Day OConnor, Nellie T. Bush, Nellie Bush, Polly Rosenbaum, Grace Sparkes, Sharlot Hall, Isabella Greenway, Arizona Navy, Admiral Bush, Admiral Nellie Bush, Admiral Nellie T. Bush

Army wife, author, and territorial era Arizonan Martha Summerhayes detailed the many challenges of nineteenth century military life – particularly the challenges faced by military wives such as herself – in her 1908 autobiography entitled Vanished Arizona.

As March draws to a close, so too does the 27th annual national observation of Women’s History Month. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice to sit on the United States Supreme Court, is frequently mentioned during the month-long celebration of women’s history and is undoubtedly Arizona’s most well-known women’s history figure. However, Arizona history is full of courageous and accomplished females, including the following women:

Martha Summerhayes

A nineteenth century Army wife who accompanied her husband to his assignments at military installations throughout Arizona Territory. Summerhayes documented the many challenges of frontier life in her 1908 autobiography entitled Vanished Arizona. Her book is now a valuable resource for those wishing to learn more about the role and experiences of women in territorial era Arizona military posts.

Sharlot Hall

Hall was a writer, historian, and Arizona booster. It is because of Hall’s efforts and her deep interest in our state’s history that the 1864 Old Governor’s Mansion was preserved and can be viewed at Prescott’s world-renowned Sharlot Hall Museum.

Isabella Greenway

Isabella, the widow of former Rough Rider turned copper mining executive John C. Greenway, was successful and connected in her own right. Over the course of her life, she served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, owned an airline, founded Tucson’s famed Arizona Inn, and maintained a close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Nellie T. Bush

Bush was a Colorado River ferryboat captain, entrepreneur, state legislator, and, later, Parker city councilwoman who is best known for serving as the ‘Admiral’ of Arizona’s ‘Navy’ during Governor Moeur’s 1934 deployment of National Guard against California’s dam laborers. Bush’s short-lived naval force consisted of two old ferryboats that soon ran into problems and required assistance from the ‘enemy’ forces on the California side of the river, thereby ending our state’s foray into naval warfare.

Polly Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum holds the record for longest service in the Arizona legislature. She succeeded her husband in 1949 following his premature death and remained in office until January of 1995. Though her legislative service ended nearly twenty years ago, Rosenbaum is still remembered for her energy and bipartisan spirit, in addition to her work for often-overlooked rural communities throughout the state.

Additional Arizona-related women’s history facts include our state’s 1912 approval of female suffrage (eight years before women earned the right nationwide), the fact that Arizona elected women to five statewide elected offices in 1998 (Jane Dee Hull, Governor; Betsey Bayless, Secretary of State; Janet Napolitano, Attorney General; Carol Springer, State Treasurer; and Lisa Graham Keegan, Superintendent of Public Instruction), and Arizona’s nearly seventeen year run of female governors (Jane Dee Hull, Janet Napolitano, and Jan Brewer).