SANTA FE, N.M. — Embattled Gov. Evan Mecham of Arizona assured his fellow Republican chief executives today that he will not ask them for a vote of confidence as he struggles to survive a recall effort and grand jury investigation.
Michele Davis, executive director of the Republican Governors Assn., said Mecham told her that despite rumors to the contrary he never had any intention of asking for backing from the GOP governors.
"I got the impression he's just here to enjoy his fellow governors and talk shop," said Gov. Garrey E. Carruthers of New Mexico, host of the annual meeting.
The word that Mecham will not ask for a vote of support was welcomed among the governors who were concerned about being drawn into the bitter controversy surrounding the Arizona governor.
Leaders of the association were clearly uneasy as they awaited Mecham's arrival Sunday. He attended a dinner and Western hoedown Sunday night but gave no public hint of his intentions.
Bombarded by Questions
Meanwhile, the other governors, eager to talk about anything but Mecham, were bombarded with questions about what they would do if he asked for their help.
"I don't think we should take any position whatsoever," said Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey, chairman of the governors' group. "That's a matter for the governor and his own state."
Mecham has been a controversial figure since his upset victory in a three-way race in 1986 and his decision to cancel a state holiday marking the birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
That act, one of his first upon taking office, touched off a storm of protest, including cancellation of several conventions scheduled for the state. It also prompted the recall effort.
Mecham also is being investigated by a grand jury looking into a $350,000 unreported loan to Mecham's campaign.