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Steiger Wins in Arizona: Overtones of Anti-semitism Marked Senate Race

Rep. Sam Steiger won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in yesterday’s hotly contested Arizona primary election, defeating his arch rival, Rep. John Conlan, by nearly 10,000 votes. Steiger’s Congressional office here told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that with all returns in Steiger had 102,506 votes to Conlan’s 92,812.

Conlan’s office, conceding defeat, said that the margin of Steiger’s victory was 8756 votes out of 180,000 counted. The Arizona Statesman of Phoenix reported that Steiger won 53 percent of the vote. Steiger waged an uphill battle in the race between the two rigidly conservative candidates that attracted more than usual national attention because of the overtones of anti-Semitism injected into the campaign, Steiger, born in New York City, is Jewish and a member of B’nai B’rith.

The anti-Semitic aspect brought an endorsement for his nomination by Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Republican Party’s elder statesman and leader in Arizona Republican affairs who told the JTA that “we must put an end” to anti-Semitism in the Arizona campaign.

“In all my years as a Republican I have never endorsed a person running for state office in the primary,” Goldwater said in a public statement on Aug. 26. He said he was breaking his rule in supporting Steiger because of “my deep concern over the injection of religion in this struggle.” Previously, in an interview with JTA, Goldwater had expressed profound concern over the tactics in the campaign by Conlan’s supporters but did not endorse Steiger.

None of the three principals was immediately available for statements on the race’s outcome. Steiger and Conlan were both in Arizona and Goldwater was in England for the Farnsworth International Air Show as President Ford’s representative.

Steiger faces Dennis Deconcini, a Phoenix attorney, who is the Democratic nominee in what is expected to be another close race culminating Nov. 2. A tight contest is expected in view of the acrimony of the Steiger-Conlan competition and the Presidential election.

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