Gubernatorial candidate headlines local Republican Club meeting

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At just its second meeting, the newly formed Maricopa Area Republican Club attracted a crowd of about 40 local Republicans and political dignitaries from around the state to the clubhouse at The Villages Thursday evening. They came to meet and greet and to listen and speak as gubernatorial candidate Don Goldwater and Ron Drake, who has his sights set on a seat in the United States Congress, addressed the group.

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“It went off better than expected,” according to the club’s president, David Lang. “We had a strong showing from local Republicans, and everyone had a great time.”

Lang said the goals of the club are to “involve local Republicans in social activities, bring out candidates to our community, inform the community about registering to vote and get Republicans elected to office.” Headliner Goldwater affirmed the value of the local volunteer clubs, calling them “the backbone of the Republican party.”

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Club president David Lang, left, with gubernatorial candidate Don Goldwater.

Mateo Figueroa, a staffer at the Arizona Republic Party, was among the attendees and noted the political importance of the growing Maricopa area, saying “This is a district we definitely want to get involved in.”

Much to the dismay of those in attendance, Governor Napolitano’s decision hours earlier to veto HB2575 (see related story), which would have increased the number of supervisors representing Pinal County from three to five, was announced at the meeting. A resolved Bill Bidwell, President of the Western Pinal Republican Club and Vice Chairman of the Pinal County Republican Committee, responded saying, “This just gives us more ammunition to defeat (Gov. Napolitano) in Pinal County, defeat her in Yavapai County and allow someone like Don Goldwater to be our next governor.”

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Bill Bridwell makes a point to his fellow Republicans.

Goldwater set the stage with his succinct, yet emphatic introduction. “My name is Don Goldwater, and I’m running for governor,” he said. “And with your help, I’ll be the next governor of the state of Arizona!”

He addressed the border, taxes and education among other issues and summarized his position when he said, “My political philosophy is real simple; economic freedom, personal responsibility and limited government.”

Gail Griffin, a candidate for District 25 State Representative, summed up the goal of the Maricopa Republic Club and every similar organization around the state. “If we can get the Republicans to the polls,” she said, “we can win every election.”

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Councilman Will Dunn, Bob Inguli, Janice Pratt and Byron Fanning were among the attendees.

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Don Goldwater

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Among the political dignitaries in attendance were (from left) Bob Ingulli, a candidate for Pinal County Sheriff, John Fillmore, a candidate for State Representative, Judge Scott Sully, Maricopa’s City Magistrate and Justice of the Peace, Sharron Gill, Chair of the Pinal County Republican Committee, Ron Drake, Don Goldwater, Gail Griffin, Bill Birdwell, Frank Pratt, a candidate for State Representative and David Lang.