Who are the most influential historical politicians of Arizona?

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Main topic: Humanities
Other topics: Arizona
Short answer: On the national stage, that would be Barry Goldwater, John McCain, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Carl Hayden. On the state level that would be George W. P. Hunt, Bruce Babbit, Henry F. Ashurst.

Barry Goldwater, while incredibly influential within Arizona, he arguably had the largest effect on the nation of any Arizona politician. His unsuccessful campaign in 1964 changed the way presidential politics was conducted.[1] His acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was one of the most controversial at any convention, but despite his defeat, his views lay the groundwork for modern day conservatism, including the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.[2][3] John McCain was the Republican standard bearer twice, in 2000 and 2008, and replaced two Republican legends in the House and Senate upon their retirement: John Jacobs Rhodes in the House in 1983, and then Barry Goldwater in the Senate in 1987. It was his controversial vote defeating the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare which allowed the healthcare program to move forward.[4][5] Carl Hayden was Arizona's first Congressman in 1912, upon Arizona receiving statehood. He was the sole member of the House of Representatives from Arizona. He was re-elected 6 consecutive times to the house. He left the House to run for the Senate in 1926 and was elected. He served 7 consecutive terms in the Senate, retiring in 1968. "His record for fifty-six consecutive years of service in the Congress, including an unprecedented forty-two in the Senate, was unsurpassed at the time of his retirement"[6] And Sandra Day O'Connor was one of the most powerful women in American in the 1980s, becoming the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.[7]

Henry Ashurst was one of the two first senators from Arizona when it achieved statehood in 1912. He had been a member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature, serving in both the House and the Senate, at one point becoming the youngest Speaker of the House in 1900.[8] George W. P. Hunt was Arizona's first governor. He also was the President of Arizona's Constitutional Convention.[9] His tomb, a small white pyramid on a hilltop in Papago Park in Phoenix, is a NHRP designated location.[10] Bruce Babbitt served as Arizona's attorney general before succeeding to the governorship in 1978. He was re-elected twice, in 1978 and again in 1982. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Babbitt to be the United States Secretary of the Interior, which he remained in throughout Clinton's two terms in office.[11]


  1. Sabato, Larry J. "How Goldwater Changed Campaigns Forever". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  2. Edwards, Lee. "Barry Goldwater — The Most Consequential Loser Of The 20th Century". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  3. Menand, Louis (2001-03-18). "He Knew He Was Right". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  4. "Help Center - The Arizona Republic". help.azcentral.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  5. "John Mccain Seen As Most Influential Republican and As Leading Voice". Docslib. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  6. "HAYDEN, Carl Trumbull | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  7. Williams, Marjorie (March 29, 2016). "How Sandra Day O'Connor became the most powerful woman in 1980s America". The Washington Post.
  8. Baker, Richard Allan. American National Biography, Vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 686–687. ISBN 0-19-512780-3.
  9. "Constitution of the State of Arizona 1912". Arizona Memory Project. 1912.
  10. "Asset Detail". npgallery.nps.gov. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  11. "Bruce Babbitt bio, photos, oral history | AZ Historymaker". www.historicalleague.org. Retrieved 2022-10-04.