Evan Mecham was the first governor in United States history to be confronted with a recall, impeachment and criminal indictment simultaneously.
Although removed from office, the impact of Mecham’s fifteen-month administration is still discussed by Arizonans and politicos across the nation.
Mecham, a millionaire automobile dealer who served in the state Senate for two years in the 1960s, ran for governor four times before he won a three-way race (against two Democrats) in November 1986 with just over 39 percent of the vote.
Mecham brought out the worst in Arizonans – racism, bigotry, intolerance.
After taking office in January 1987, Mecham rescinded a Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday, saying its creation had been illegal.
In addition to canceling the holiday, he said that working women cause divorce, attempted to out gays serving in state government, proclaimed America a Christian nation while speaking at a Jewish synagogue, and that he saw nothing wrong with calling black children “pickaninnies.”
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