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Stephen Caroyl Shadegg (December 8, 1909 – April 16, 1990) was a conservative political consultant, public relations specialist, and author from his adopted city of Phoenix, Arizona.

Stephen Shadegg
Stephen Caroyl Shadegg

(1909-12-08)December 8, 1909
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedApril 16, 1990(1990-04-16) (aged 80)
ResidencePhoenix, Arizona
Political party
Spouse(s)Eugenia Kerr Shadegg (died 1987)
Children4, including John


Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota,[1] and reared in Redlands, California,[2] little is known of Shadegg's early life, including his education. He worked extensively as a writer and published hundreds of stories in pulp magazines before his interest turned to politics. In 1932, he moved to Phoenix, where he authored radio scripts for such programs as "Tales of Pioneer Days" and "Phoenix Sun Ranch Chuck Wagon".[1] He spent much of 1939–1940 in Hollywood, where he wrote scripts for RKO Pictures.[3]

He was also a mail-order salesman, polygraph examiner, sheriff's deputy, an insurance agent, and owned a pharmaceutical company. His public relations firm had as its principal clients the Phelps Dodge Corporation and the Salt River Project. Shadegg was considered an authority on Arizona water issues.[4]

In the late 1940s, he developed a political and religious philosophy based on evangelical principles and opposition to liberal social policy, though he continued to worship as an Episcopalian. He was a vestryman in his Phoenix church and a figure in national Episcopalian affairs too.[3][5]

Political lifeEdit

Over several decades Shadegg managed more than forty campaigns in Arizona for offices at all levels of government. First a Democrat, he worked on the 1942 campaign of Lon Jordan for sheriff of Maricopa County.[2] He managed his first statewide race in 1950, the reelection campaign of U.S. Senator Carl Hayden of Phoenix. By 1952, however, he had switched parties and played the same role as campaign manager for newcomer Barry Goldwater, a former department store-owner from Phoenix who challenged the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Ernest McFarland. Against four-to-one Democratic registration, Shadegg helped to stage a stunning upset which brought Goldwater to the Senate in 1952, helped by the national popularity of Dwight D. Eisenhower that year. Shadegg was regarded as a shrewd strategist and advisor whose influence extended to the Republican National Committee. Shadegg defined a distinct western political conservatism that set the tone for many later politicians in the region. He subsequently managed all of Goldwater's successful Senate races, 1968, 1974, and 1980. He also managed the reelection of Goldwater in 1958, a very successful year for the Democrats nationwide.[4][6]

In 1960, Shadegg was elected chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. During this time, he ghost authored a nationally syndicated newspaper column, "How Do You Stand, Sir?", that appeared under Goldwater's name.[3] Those columns provided most of the material that appeared under Goldwater's name in The Conscience of a Conservative, a 1960 political tract written by L. Brent Bozell.[7] He was considered the person closest to Goldwater in political philosophy and as the craftsman of Goldwater as a staunch conservative.[8]

In 1962, at Goldwater's urging, Shadegg ran in the Republican primary for the right to challenge Senator Carl Hayden for re-election, but he lost the primary to Evan Mecham, later a short-term governor of Arizona. Goldwater endorsed no candidate in the primary race.[9] Shadegg later said that he was "terriby let down" by Goldwater's position of neutrality in the primary after Goldwater had urged Shadegg to seek the seat.[3]

In 1964, Shadegg served as western regional director of Goldwater's unsuccessful presidential campaign.[10] He managed Goldwater's unsuccessful primary race in Oregon against Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York. For the general election, his western states assignment was Region VII: Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. Of those states, only Arizona voted for Goldwater and by a narrow margin over U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.[8]

Shadegg ran several more campaigns for Republicans, both in Arizona and in several other states.[11] Though associated most closely with Goldwater, he also performed campaign duties at least once for Republicans Karl Mundt of South Dakota, Carl Curtis of Nebraska Gordon Allott of Colorado, Henry Dworshak of Idaho, Keith Thomson of Wyoming, Andrew Frank Schoeppel of Kansas, Paul Laxalt of Nevada, and John Tower of Texas. He was also retained by Moderate Republican U.S. Senators Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, Clifford P. Case of New Jersey, and Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts. He managed the successful gubernatorial campaigns in Arizona of Paul Fannin and Jack Richard Williams, the latter of whom called Shadegg "a real innovator in political campaigns." Shadegg directed the five congressional campaigns of U.S. Representative Eldon Rudd of Arizona's 4th congressional district from 1977 to 1987, for whom he was chief strategist and speechwriter.[12]

Literary lifeEdit

In August 1964, he published How to Win an Election: The Art of Political Victory.[13] This book frankly describes Shadegg's belief that voters who are indifferent to issues, who are easily led to vote even against their own interests, provide the margin of victory in elections.[14]

Following Goldwater's defeat, he published an insider's account of the campaign, What Happened to Goldwater?, that revealed that Goldwater's national campaign manager, Denison Kitchel, also of Phoenix, had been an early member of the John Birch Society. The New York Times reviewer recommended the book: "students of political organization and political philosophy will find many other minor fascinations in these pages, not least of which is the author's ambivalent attitude toward his hero."[15]

Shadegg in 1970 authored Claire Boothe Luce: A Biography, which appeared in 1971. William F. Buckley Jr., described it as "favorable, but not gushy" and wrote that its "principal failure" was "that somehow it does not sufficiently communicate the flavor of her."[16] Luce had given Shadegg access to her papers and press clippings, and he defended himself against suggestions that she exercised control over what he wrote and that he had not interviewed widely. Shadegg said that the "more romantic story" some wanted about the Republican icon would not have been accurate.[17]

In 1972, he published The New How to Win an Election, which Jeff Greenfield called "staggeringly unreadable" and criticized for relying too closely on his earlier book, with its regional focus and Eisenhower-era issues and for lacking updated material.[18] Others have found Shadegg's emphasis on developing networks of interpersonal communication, which he called social precincts, an early articulation of a strategy now widely-recognized as important.[19]

He collaborated with Goldwater on the latter's political memoir With No Apologies, which appeared in 1979. Following its publication by William Morrow & Company, the two successfully sued their original publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for rejecting the manuscript after failing to respond to their requests for editorial assistance.[20]

In 1986, he published a memoir: Arizona Politics: The Struggle to End One-Party Rule.[21]

Shadegg's papers are held at the Arizona Historical Foundation in Tempe.[22]

Family and deathEdit

Shadegg married Eugenia Kerr, who died in 1988. They had four children, Stephen David Shadegg (1947–2009), who died of a heart attack while camping in the northern Arizona mountains,[23] and John Barden Shadegg, Cynthia S. Ackel, and Eugenia S. Johnson, all born in Phoenix.[3]

Stephen Shadegg died of cancer at his Phoenix home at the age of eighty on April 16, 1990.[3] Younger son John Shadegg managed Arizona political campaigns as had his father, served as a U.S. Representative from Arizona from 1995 to 2011,[11] and then joined the staff of the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix.[24]

List of booksEdit

  • The Remnant: A Political Novel (Arlington House, 1968), ASIN: B000SIAZFO
  • How to Win an Election: The Art of Political Victory (Taplinger, 1964), ASIN: B0007DU2QC
  • What Happened to Goldwater?: The Inside Story of the 1964 Republican Campaign (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1965), ASIN: B0006BN9HE
  • Century One: 1869-1969 One Hundred Years of Water Development in the Salt River Valley (1969), ASIN: B00FFIIMKC
  • Winning's a Lot More Fun (Collier Macmillan, 1970), ISBN 978-0026096904
  • Clare Booth Luce: A Biography (Simon & Schuster, 1970), ISBN 9780856320170
  • The New How to Win an Election (Taplinger, 1972), ISBN 978-0800855109
  • Miss Lulu's Legacy (Arizona State University Press, 1984), ISBN 978-0961193218; the story of Lulu Clifton, a Methodist deaconess in the Salt River ill with tuberculosis, who established a hospital in a rented building in Phoenix
  • Arizona Politics: The Struggle to End One-Party Rule (Arizona State University Press, 1986), ISBN 978-0961193263


  1. ^ a b French, Jack; Siegel, David S., eds. (2014). Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967. McFarland & Company. pp. 133–4, 179. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Stephen C. Shadegg Collection" (PDF). Arizona Historical Foundation. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Fowler, Glenn (May 24, 1990). "Stephen Shadegg, Goldwater Adviser And Alter Ego, 80". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "The Many Personas of Stephen Shadegg: Political Strategist, Author, Actor, Businessman". Arizona State University Libraries. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  5. ^ Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy (2013). Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 163–4. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  6. ^ Cunningham, Sean P. (2014). American Politics in the Postwar Sunbelt: Conservative Growth in a Battleground Region. Cambridge University Press. p. 101.
  7. ^ Phillips, Cabell (August 29, 1965). "Why the Cheering Stopped" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Guide to the Stephen Shadegg/Barry Goldwater Collection, 1949-1965". Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  9. ^ "Nation: Out from Backstage". Time. April 13, 1962. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  10. ^ "Goldwater Names Two Aides in West". The New York Times. August 20, 1964. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Lewis, Neil A. (October 31, 1995). "A Freshman Who Doesn't Aim to Please..." New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "Stephen C. Shadegg Papers". Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  13. ^ Perlstein, Rick (2001). Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. Hill & Wang. p. 524n22. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Kelley, Stanley (1983). Interpreting Elections. Princeton University Press. pp. 145–6. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  15. ^ Fremont-Smith, Eliot (August 3, 1965). "How to Lose an Election" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  16. ^ Buckley, William F. (April 11, 1971). "Claire Boothe Luce" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  17. ^ Shadegg, Stephen (August 8, 1971). "Letters: Claire Boothe Luce" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  18. ^ Greenfield, Jeff (June 4, 1972). "The Process of Politics" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  19. ^ Trent, Judith S.; Friedenberg, Robert V.; Denton Jr., Robert E. (2011). Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices (7th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 317–8. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  20. ^ "Goldwater Wins Book Suit". New York Times. February 6, 1982. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  21. ^ Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy (2013). Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 276n33. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  22. ^ "Manuscripts - S". Arizona Historical Foundation. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  23. ^ "Stephen David Shadegg". The Arizona Star. Tucson. October 19, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  24. ^ "Congressman John Shadegg named Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow". January 4, 2011. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit