Hours before an impeachment report was to be sent to the Arizona House, Gov. Evan Mecham apologized today for mistakes that may have embarrassed the state.
"Like most Arizonans, I have tried to determine why our state is now so politically divided," the Republican governor said in a letter printed in the Arizona Republic. "I have come to the conclusion that some, but not all, of the blame rests with me.
"I apologize to the people of Arizona for any of my actions or mistakes which may have sparked embarrassing publicity for our state. I have been well intentioned but I now know that I may have been the cause of legitimate concern.
"I hope the people of our great state will balance these errors against the good things which I have done, accept my apology and forgive me for my mistakes."
Special counsel William P. French, hired three months ago by House Speaker Joe Lane to investigate possible impeachment charges against Mecham, was scheduled to deliver his report to the Republican-controlled House this afternoon. Hearings that could lead to a House vote to impeach Mecham were tentatively set for next week.
Mecham, Arizona's first Republican governor in 12 years, also faces an almost certain recall election, probably in May. He was indicted Jan. 8 on six felony counts for allegedly concealing a $350,000 loan to his 1986 campaign.
On Thursday, Mecham and his brother, Willard, who was his 1986 campaign treasurer, were fingerprinted, photographed and booked on felony charges in connection with the campaign loan.
Gov. Mecham has been accused of making insulting remarks about women, Jews and racial minorities.
The governor first ran into opposition shortly after his inauguration last January when he canceled a paid state holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a result of that action, several groups canceled conventions that had been scheduled in Phoenix.