Ariz. governor runoff awaits action by legislature


PHOENIX (AP) -- The legislature will be called into special session "no later than the 19th" to work on legislation to facilitate a gubernatorial runoff, Gov. Rose Mofford said yesterday.

Governor Mofford said after a meeting with legislative leaders that a bill to set the runoff election procedures has been drafted but that no details would be revealed before it was reviewed by House and Senate party caucuses.

Republican Fife Symington, who was born in Baltimore and is a Gilman School graduate, beat Democrat Terry Goddard by about 4,000 votes in Tuesday's election, but 11,309 write-in votes for other candidates prevented him from getting the absolute majority of all votes cast that he needed to avoid a runoff under a previously untested amendment to the state constitution.

Lawmakers have never passed laws setting up specific rules to cover such areas as the timing for runoff elections or whether campaign contribution limits carry over to them.

Mr. Symington and Mr. Goddard both say they want the election to be held as quickly as possible, but state officials have said that because there is no enabling legislation, it may be put off until the spring.

Adding to the complications is a requirement, stemming from past complaints of unfairness to minority voters, that all election laws be reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department.

Assistant state Attorney General John Shadegg said Jerry Hebert, head of the Justice Department's voting rights section, had told him a review could be completed in days, unless there are formal complaints from citizens.

Considering the time it will take to pass a bill, it is unlikely that the election can be held before Jan. 7, when Governor Mofford is scheduled to leave office.

The constitution says the governor stays in office until a successor is chosen, but lawyers say it is not entirely clear whether that means Governor Mofford would have to wait until after the runoff or whether she could turn the reins over to the newly elected secretary of state, who serves as a lieutenant governor.

Mr. Symington, who graduated from Gilman in 1964, moved to Arizona after serving in Vietnam.

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