In trying to compete with my 20 years of experience as a conservative leader, Don Goldwater has staked a claim to a long-term involvement in the fight against illegal immigration. For the entire campaign he has talked about being “the only candidate who has been down on the border with Chris Simcox and the Minutemen” fighting illegal immigration.
The first time I heard him talk about this, he mentioned two years. Then it became two-and-a-half, then three, then it peaked in Casa Grande in a televised debate where he said “four years” on the border with the Minutemen. Now he has backed down to three years.
Why is this relevant? Because the first Minuteman gathering was in April 2005 – one and a half years ago – and Don Goldwater was not there! Bill Montgomery, our Republican attorney general candidate, was with Don when the two of them met Chris Simcox and pulled a shift with the Minutemen for the very first time – in October 2005, less than one year ago!
Here is the truth about Don Goldwater’s long-term commitment to fighting illegal immigration – it began when he became a candidate for Governor. Just like his conversion to the pro-life cause.
After telling thousands of voters over the past six months about his three or more years of involvement with the Minutemen, the truth is that he has been involved for less than one year, and only after becoming a political candidate. He should apologize for misleading Arizona voters, and this morning under questioning from me during a radio debate, he did apologize.
When I asked him how long he had been involved with the Minutemen, he first said he didn’t remember when he met Chris Simcox. When I told him it was less than a year ago, he apologized for misleading people into thinking he had been involved with the Minutemen sooner. When I asked what he was doing three and four years ago on the border, before the formation of the Minutemen, he said “hunting javelinas.”
This issue has been the centerpiece of Don Goldwater’s campaign. He has put all his eggs in this basket. For someone to spend month after month touting his long-term commitment to fighting illegal immigration, and consistently exaggerating that involvement to try to compete with my 20 years of conservative leadership, is fundamentally dishonest.
I held a leadership position in a conservative organization that was formed to address cultural issues. No one gave us a dime so that we could wade into the immigration issue, and it would have been unethical for us to use donor money to engage on an issue that was not part of our stated mission. For that reason, although I supported Prop 200 and had strong views on the issue, I did not address illegal immigration until becoming a candidate for Governor.
But neither did Don. And unlike me, he did not have any professional reason to not be involved.