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Recall Supporters Claim Gains From Attack by Gov. Mecham

October 01, 1987|Associated Press

PHOENIX — A group seeking the recall of Gov. Evan Mecham said Wednesday that it got a shot in the arm from the furor over a Mecham fund-raising letter that blamed the effort on "militant liberals" and homosexuals.

"The phones are ringing off the hook--the place is bizarre," said Ed Buck, founder of the Mecham Recall Committee.

"Back on track," Buck said, quoting from a recent "Doonesbury" cartoon that portrayed the recall campaign as being rejuvenated after the cartoon governor blamed the movement on homosexuals.

Mecham sought Tuesday to distance himself from the letter, which was mailed by the Mecham Finance Committee to 25,000 people nationwide.

The letter, which sought to raise $1.2 million in 45 days, asked supporters to move to Arizona or at least send money to the governor.

"That's right, I want you to sell your house, pack your belongings, quit your job and come to the most beautiful state in the Union," the letter said. "Without your contribution I will risk being crushed by the millions of dollars the militant liberals and the homosexual lobby plan to spend against me. . . . If they destroy me it will be a sad day for conservatives everywhere and most of all for America.

The Republican governor told reporters he had not seen the letter, written on the gubernatorial letterhead, and that a signature machine was used to sign it without his authorization. Earlier, Press Secretary Ken Smith had told reporters the governor said he read the letter and signed it personally.

The recall committee must gather 216,746 signatures of registered voters by Nov. 3 to force Mecham to face a recall vote next year.

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