Barry M. Goldwater Jr., the son of the iconic Arizona Republican, tells Newsmax that he believes Mitt Romney won the Grand Canyon State more with his early leg work than his conservative ideas.
“Romney came out here early and pretty well lined up all of the old timers and the political types and pretty well had it lined up long ago,” Goldwater said in an exclusive interview. The seven-term former congressman from California now lives in the state his father represented in the Senate.
“I don’t see Romney as being the banner for conservatism,” said Goldwater, who was the first person to win a House seat at the same time his father served in the Senate. “Yet he did very well out here.”
Goldwater, now 73, said he suspects that low voter turnout may be one possible explanation for Romney’s success in Arizona, along with the fact that the other candidates simply didn’t pay much attention to the state.
“I don’t really know why Romney did that well other than he was out here early and he held a number of rallies. He raised money out here, got early commitments. He asked for their support and nobody else has been here,” Goldwater said. “I think Romney just got his people out.”
He said the most important issue for Arizona voters — along with most of the country — is the economy. “I think it has to do with the horrendous debt that this country is building up that’s jeopardizing future generations,” he explained.
Goldwater, who served in the House from 1969 to 1983, said he believes all four GOP presidential candidates remain viable contenders heading into Super Tuesday next week.
“Super Tuesday takes in a lot of the South and some of the other Western states, mostly a conservative bed, so I don’t know how well Romney will do there,” said Goldwater. “That will be his real test.”
A supporter of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Goldwater said he still believes that Paul offers the best solutions.
“There’s not much difference between Romney and Santorum and even Newt Gingrich. But Ron Paul is quite a bit different,” he insisted.
While former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished second in Arizona and a close second in Romney’s home state of Michigan, his emphasis on social issues troubles many voters, according to Goldwater.
“He’s talking too many social issues and he’s not sticking to the key issues of how he’s going to solve the economy,” added Goldwater. “What about the Federal Reserve and the part it plays in continuing to devalue our dollar?”
Goldwater, whose father was the Republican presidential nominee in 1964, believes that the current nomination process is too long and too expensive.
“I don’t think it’s good for the nation as a whole. We run these campaigns too long — a year and a half, maybe two years,” he said. “It’s ridiculous because we wind up spending too darn much money and distracting ourselves from the real issues and the problems of the day.”
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