J. Fife Symington III, the Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, remembers telling his children that if they could just be patient until November, the election would be over and their lives would return to normal. But things are anything but normal in Arizona these days.
Because neither Symington nor his Democratic opponent, Terry Goddard, received the required simple majority, both face a runoff Feb. 26, only a week before the inauguration.
Symington, who won 4,000 more votes than Goddard, already has begun doing a few gubernatorial things. He attended the Republican Governors Association meeting in North Carolina last week as "Gov.-elect Symington" and sat in on all the meetings and social gatherings with his duly elected GOP counterparts.
Back at home, Symington has asked outgoing Gov. Rose Mofford (D), who will spend an extra two months in office as a result of the standoff, to hold off naming anyone to fill upcoming vacancies on key state boards and commissions, appointments that he argues should fall to the new governor.
But Mofford, who would have left office Jan. 14, has denied Symington's request to delay the appointments until March. Her spokesman, Vada Manager, said several important appointments expire Jan. 31. Vacancies, he said, would deprive some of the commissions of the quorum needed to conduct business. "There is no way, shape or form that she is willing to abdicate her responsibility to make these decisions," Manager said.
The Arizona Senate must approve Mofford's nominations. Because the new Senate that takes office next month tipped into Democratic hands in November's elections, it is likely that anyone Mofford nominates in her final, unexpected days in office will easily win confirmation.